PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2011, 12:00am

World day for water

Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink ... that would be terrible! Yesterday was World Water Day. If world leaders do not put water-saving plans in place, some countries may soon run out of drinking water.

The beginning

The idea of a World Water Day first came up in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The UN declared March 22 as World Day for Water. The day has been observed since 1993. There is a different theme every year. This year, the theme is 'Water and Urbanisation'. The official ceremonies were held in Cape Town, South Africa.

Previous themes

Last year's theme was 'Clean Water for a Healthy World'. The importance of clean drinking water was discussed.

'Transboundary Waters' was the theme for 2009. In many conflicts, diseases kills more people than bullets. The 2009 World Water Day called on governments to ensure safe water for civilians in conflict zones. The 2007 theme was 'Coping with Water Scarcity'. It looked at the importance of water in food production.

Drinking water

About 71 per cent of the world's surface is covered by water, and 97 per cent of this water is salty and therefore not drinkable.

Fifty per cent of the world's freshwater supply comes from six countries - Brazil, Russia, Canada, Indonesia, China and Colombia.

Scientists have found fresh water hidden inside the earth in China. There is also an enormous supply of water under eastern Asia. This supply is bigger than the Arctic Ocean.

City people

The number of people living in cities is now greater than those who live in rural areas. This causes a problem for city planners. They need to plan so that the water supply is enough to meet the need. People who live in cities should not waste water.

Now do this:

1 How much of the world's surface is covered by water?

a. 38 per cent

b. 71 per cent

c. 21 per cent

2 Where was this year's World Water Day held?

a. Rio de Janeiro

b. Russia

c. South Africa

3 Which country has a supply of fresh water hidden inside the earth?

a. China

b. Colombia

c. Canada