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Message from the Secretary General of the OAS on the Celebration of World Water Day

  March 22, 2017

The celebration today of World Water Day 2017 is focused on “wastewater,” the water derived from domestic and industrial waste and which has been contaminated.

Population growth, rapid urbanization, and economic development have resulted in increased generation of wastewater in different processes and the associated contamination is increasing at the global level.

The exponential contamination of this resource brings with it significant losses for ecosystems and for human beings. The use of non-potable water and poor sanitary infrastructure cause approximately 842,000 deaths per year.

But there are opportunities for action. Treated wastewater is a sustainable and affordable source of drinking water and energy, as well as nutrients and other recoverable materials.

In this field, technological innovation, coupled with good water management and governance practices, can provide an economic boost and a source of employment for many sectors of the population.

Today I would like to highlight the efforts made by OAS member states in the conservation, protection and sustainable use of water to guarantee the water security of our planet, and in particular the pioneering efforts of Panama, where today President Juan Carlos Varela will launch the National Water Security Plan “Water for Everyone,” which includes 560 actions and projects and an investment of approximately 11 billion dollars.

To live in a hemisphere with nearly half of the water in the world obliges us to set an example in its management. Adequate water governance, as well as integrated management and conservation will lead to cleaner resources and healthier lives for all of us.

Reference: E-016/17