Valuing water across the region: World Water Day

A woman accesses drinking water for patients and visitors in a health care facility in Bhutan

On World Water Day we reflect on water’s value to communities, economies, and the environment. Water underpins everything we do to achieve the SDGs and a safe, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.


How we value water determines how water is managed and shared. Water is a valuable and finite resource, in communities, households, schools and workplaces, water means health, hygiene, dignity and productivity.


But today, 1 in 3 people – around 2.2 billion – live without safe drinking water.


We must use and manage water responsibly to balance the water needs of society and ensure we leave no one behind. The sustainable and efficient use of water is critical in building resilience to climate change. Adapting to the impacts of climate change will help to protect health and save lives.


Gender equality and social inclusion are also important as actively involving all people within communities (women, men, marginalised groups, people with disabilities) ensures more equitable and inclusive access, including to water.  Cohesive and socially inclusive communities are naturally more resilient, including to shocks from disease outbreaks and a changing climate and they are more likely to have effective and sustainable outcomes in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). 


How business-as-usual approaches do women a disservice

Read our World Water Day Insight from Gabrielle Halcrow and Claire Rowland


Today, access to water is under extreme threat from a growing population, increasing demands of agriculture and industry, and the worsening impacts of climate change.

SDG6 Infographic featuring all the aims under SDG6 - water and sanitation for all

Sustainable Development Goal 6 is to ensure water and sanitation for all. Without a comprehensive understanding of water’s true, multidimensional value, we will be unable to safeguard this critical resource for the benefit of everyone.


The value of water is about much more than its price – water has enormous and complex value for our households, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource.

Water for Women partners are working to improve health, gender equality and wellbeing in Asian and Pacific communities through 18 socially inclusive and sustainable WASH projects. So far, we have reached over 1.4 million people through our projects.


Water for Women supports research and innovation within the Fund through 11 research projects and the Innovation & Impact Grants. You can see how partners, communities and people are "valuing water" in many and varied ways across the region through the updates shared below. 



A graphic that shows Water for Women has reached 1,415,217 beneficiaries of our 2.9 million target

A message from Senator the Hon Marise Payne 

Australia’s Foreign Minister reminds us that water security is essential to gender equality. Women and girls suffer most and carry the greatest burdens from water scarcity.

Delivered at the UN's High-Level meeting on Water on 19th March, 2021.

A group of school girls are laughing and smiling together

It takes a village: how the Aruligo school community rallied to improve their water supply

The students at Aruligo school are pretty happy with the changes at their school! When we all work together, great things can happen, with the help of Water for Women partners, Plan International and Live & Learn, Aruligo school mobilised students, community, government and the bank to drastically improve their water supply and management. This is especially important for future resilience because the school and community is located in one of the driest parts of Guadalcanal... 

A man sits on his mobility assistive device smiling at the camera in Pakistan

Small steps create big change for Wazir and his family in Pakistan

Sometimes it is small, simple steps that can have a big impact on the health and wellbeing of a family. When Wazir met the IRC team in village Krapa in Pakistan, they supported him to join the Inclusive WASH Jirga. This connection and the steps that followed helped Wazir take control of the health and fortune of his family for the better, through simple steps to protect the water quality of his home’s dug well...

Two women are dressed smartly and smiling at the camera in Indonesia, one is holding a young boy

Nature-based solutions are transforming communities in Indonesia

In a COVID-19 and climate change-affected world, women’s access to sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) has never been more important. That is why Australia is supporting research with partners Monash University, Emory University, Universitas Husanuddin and University of the South Pacific, into nature-based solutions, so women like Ibu Suneti (left) can be part of building a more sustainable, cohesive and resilient community.

The value of water is about much more than its price – in communities, households, schools and workplaces, water means health, hygiene, dignity, productivity and more.


Throughout March, for International Women's Day and World Water Day, we are celebrating the value of women and the value of water. Both are critical to building healthy and climate-resilient communities. 

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