World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about focusing attention on the importance of water.

The U.N. says 2.1 billion people live without clean drinking water at home, which affects health, livelihood and education.

The United Nations World Water Development Report says that nature-based solutions can improve the supply and quality of water and reduce the impact of natural disasters.

Our District participated in a Rotary Friendship Exchange with South Africa in 2015 and our trip began in Cape Town which is now in a water crisis.
Here is an excerpt fromManuel Crespo-Feliciano's article for Accuweather printed on February 27, 2018.

Cape Town, a cosmopolitan city of 3.7 million people on the west coast of South Africa, is about to run out of water.

Weeks ago, local authorities were predicting that “Day Zero” in Cape Town was going to arrive in late April, and that people will have to start procuring water from one of the 200 collection points throughout the city.

Now, after three postponements, the city calculates that it will reach that crisis point on July 9.

At that point, the remaining water will go to hospitals and certain settlements that depend on communal faucets. Most people in the city will run out of tap water for drinking, bathing or other uses.

In this way, Cape Town could be just the first of many other cities that could have no access to clean water.

However, the fact that the residents of the area have taken the necessary precautions to conserve the water could represent good news for Cape Town.

The winter season begins on June 21, and according to AccuWeather Meteorologist James Andrews, some precipitation could be expected at this time.

"The climate of Cape Town has parallels to that of Northern California’s Bay Area. Both are Mediterranean climates, marked by dry summers and relatively rainy winters," said Andrews.

Still, the problem appears to be more related to the demand of water in the area rather than the lack of significant precipitation in the Cape Town area.

"According to AccuWeather data, 2017 had 82 percent of normal rainfall (13.82 inches to be exact). This is, if accurate, a relatively small shortfall for a dry climate such as the Cape region. It could be that this is not representative of overall regional rainfall. Also, it could be that demand is more of a factor than the shortfall resulting from dearth of rainfall," Andrews added.

Although drought is but one of the many challenges facing the planet, it is necessary to highlight it within this context of major challenges because it will surely cause humanity to face great transformations and struggles for survival.


Rotarians, we say, "Water...that's what we do."  One of the Six Major Areas of Focus for sustainable projects worldwide.  Clubs choose how they want to make a difference and raise money to support water projects.  It is not just a problem in Africa or India, but following Hurricane Harvey we have had many illnesses locally due to water-borne viruses.  Objects that had been submerged in water can also cause infection if touched or used after.  Houses continue to be "gutted" and piles of debris remain in many neighborhoods.  We will continue to make a difference as Rotarians in our own community and abroad.