Water is an integral part of our lives and it influences every aspect of our existence. This being the case, its shocking to realize that nearly one billion people around the world don't have clean drinking water and 2.6 billion still lack basic sanitation. World Water Day, celebrated annually on March 22, was established by the United Nations in 1992 and focuses attention on the world's water crisis, as well as the solutions to address it. Saving water would mean saving the lives of thousands of children each day, advancing education and employment - especially among women and girls - and fueling economic growth around the world.
A girl plays in a fountain in Santiago's main square, Plaza de Armas, on April 24, 2009.
Ariel Marinkovic | AFP / Getty Images
Grace Reeve, 8 of Camberwell plays in a fountain on the South Bank on Aug. 19, 2009 in London, England.
Dan Kitwood | Getty Images
A man washes himself on the banks of the Yamuna river on Dec. 14, 2009 in Delhi, India. In a city of approximately 16 million, over a quarter of New Delhi residents have no access to piped water. City residents pour an estimated 950 million gallons of sewage into the Yamuna River everyday, 50% of which enters untreated. The entire Yamuna River right from its origin to confluence with the river Ganges and its tributaries are subject to human activities, which directly or indirectly affect the water quality. 2.1 million children in India under the age of 5 die each year from water-borne diseases. The World Bank reports India stands on the edge of an era of severe water scarcity as the city's population has grown over 40% in 15 years. According to UNICEF, water-borne diseases are responsible for more deaths than AIDS, Malaria and Measles combined.
Daniel Berehulak | Getty Images
Fireworks explode in the sky over the ocean as seen from Waikiki beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Jan. 1, 2010.
Jewel Samad, AFP | Getty Images
Prague's firemen take part in a broken ice emergency rescue drill at a confluence of the Berounka and Vltava Rivers on Feb. 8, 2010 in Prague, Czech Republic.
Isifa Martin Divisek | Getty Images
Children play in front of one of the fountains in the magic circuit of water in the "Parque de la Reserva" in Lima on Feb. 24, 2010.
Ernesto Benavides | AFP/Getty Images
A boy leaps into the Niger River as he bathes with friends at sunset in Niamey, Niger, Feb. 22, 2010.
AP | Rebecca Blackwell
A fisherman heads out into heavy fog Wednesday March 10, 2010 on the Mississippi River near East Dubuque, Il.
AP | Dave Kettering, The Telegraph Herald
Argentine artist Nicolas Garcia Uriburu, in boat second from right, accompanied by Greenpeace activists throws a green substance into the Riachuelo River to protest pollution in Buenos Aires, Monday, March 22, 2010. Greenpeace's action at the Riachuelo River, the most polluted in the country's capital, is part of the organization's commemoration of International Water Day.
Natacha Pisarenko | AP Photo
Surrounded by other youths, a Pakistani looks out of a water reservoir while taking a shower, on World Water Day in the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, March 22, 2010. Clean Water for a Healthy World is the theme for World Water Day 2010.
Muhammed Muheisen | AP Photo
Shakeel dives into a polluted section of the River Yamuna to scavenge for ornaments and coins left by Hindu rituals at the river bank, in New Delhi, India, Monday, March 22, 2010. Officials say factories are ignoring regulations and dumping untreated sewage and industrial pollution, turning toxic the river that gives the capital much of its drinking water.
Gurinder Osan | AP Photo
Indian workers wash clothes on World Water Day in Allahabad, India, Monday, March 22, 2010. Clean Water for a Healthy World is the theme for World Water Day 2010.
Rajesh Kumar Singh | AP Photo
An Afghan woman walks along with donkey carrying jerry cans filled with water in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, March 22, 2010. Clean Water for a Healthy World is the theme for World Water Day 2010 which is celebrated Monday.
Rafiq Maqbool | AP Photo
The Maya believed natural wells, such as the Xkeken cenote in Mexico's Yucatan, led to the underworld.
John Stanmeyer | VII, © National Geographic
India's holiest river, the Ganges, is scribbled with light from floating oil lamps during the Ganga Dussehra festival in Haridwar. Hindus near death often bathe in the river; some are later cremated beside it and have their ashes scattered on its waters.
John Stanmeyer | VII, © National Geographic
Jared Otieno, a worker with the Kenyan Ministry of environment and mineral resources, sprinkles water cupped in his hand as he and other workers who helped clean two-and-a-half miles of the Nairobi river basin in Nairobi greet foreign United Nations visitors to the river basin site on March 21, 2010.
ROBERTO SCHMIDT | AFP/Getty Images
A photograph of sunlight reflected by waterways across the central United States, as seen from the International Space Station in November of 2003. The scene looks southwest from above Lake Michigan across the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, towards Texas near the horizon. At least two of the smaller lakes at bottom, near the Illinois River, are cooling ponds for nuclear power stations.
NASA | JSC
Floating on dreams and whispers, girls from a West Bank village cool off in the salt-laden waters of the Dead Sea. With its main tributary, the Jordan, at less than a tenth of its former volume, the inland sea has dropped some 70 feet since 1978.
Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum, © National Geographic
After six years of drought, measuring sticks are useless at the Ziglab Dam in Jordan, built to catch water flowing west into the Jordan River for irrigation. Its reservoir has shrunk to a fifth of capacity and hasn't filled since 2003, forcing Jordan to ration water.
Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum, © National Geographic
A man swims in a pool inside a condominium in Singapore March 21, 2010.
REUTERS | Nicky Loh
A boy swims in the murky waters of Manila Bay March 21, 2010.
REUTERS | Cheryl Ravelo
In Iceland the bountiful Kolgrima River inscribes the earth on its seaward path.
Hans Strand | National Geographic
Gabra women in northern Kenya spend up to five hours a day carrying heavy jerry cans filled with murky water. A lingering drought has pushed this already arid region to a water crisis.
Lynn Johnson | National Geographic
Flood water drains from a ditch along Interstate 29 March 21, 2010 south of Fargo, North Dakota.
Scott Olson | Getty Images
Southern California draws much of its water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which was diked and divided into farms more than a century ago. Many of the aging levees are at risk of failure.
Edward Burtynsky | National Geographic
A Chinese softball player hits a ball during a sandstorm in Beijing on March 20, 2010. Beijingers woke up to find the Chinese capital blanketed in yellow dust, as a sandstorm caused by a severe drought in the north and in Mongolia swept into the city.
STR | AFP/Getty Images
A man drinks from a pipe March 18, 2010 in the streets of quake-struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
THONY BELIZAIRE | AFP/Getty Images
A man delivers water from a water tank in shanty town Pamplona at Villa Maria Del Triunfo, near Peru's capital Lima, March 20, 2010. Working toilets and clean drinking water are unattainable luxuries for a third of the Peru's city dwellers and two-thirds of its rural population, one of the world's highest levels for a middle-income country that boasts a fast-growing economy, huge investor interest and ample Andean water resources.
Mariana Bazo | REUTERS
A picture taken on February 10, 2010 shows the Churchill dam as it is 17 percent full in the Kareedouw region, West of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The green pitch at Port Elizabeth's World Cup stadium has become an island in a sea of brown, exempt from restrictions imposed due to a drought that has scorched the land outside.
STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN | AFP/Getty Images
A villager bathes under a hose pipe used for the irrigation of rice field, as his son, left, looks on, on the outskirts of Amritsar, India, Monday, March 22, 2010.
Altaf Qadri | AP Photo
4,000 baby bottles containing polluted water stand on the Bundesplatz in Bern, Switzerland, Monday, March 22. 2010. The action was organized by the Swiss association for International Cooperation Helvetas to highlight the UN's World Water Day.
Peter Klaunzer | AP Photo/Keystone
A fisherman paddles his canoe through dead fish along Manaquiri River, a tributary of the Amazon, near the city of Manaquiri, November 28, 2009. The world's biggest rainforest is suffering from seasonal drought, killing tons of fish.
Paulo Whitaker | REUTERS
Severed from the edge of Antarctica, this iceberg might float for years as it melts and releases its store of fresh water into the sea. The water molecules will eventually evaporate, condense, and recycle back to Earth as precipitation.
Camille Seaman | National Geographic
Hoses used to supply residences with water are seen hanging across a street at the Penjaringan subdistrict in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 22, 2010. Residents in the area say that they have had to construct makeshift water supplies for their homes by attaching hoses to pumps bought with their own money, as the government has yet to repair the original water supply which was damaged.
Beawiharta | REUTERS
An Indian village boy runs through a parched field on World Water Day in Berhampur, Orissa state, India, Monday, March 22, 2010.
Biswaranjan Rout | AP Photo
A Balinese couple kiss while the crowd pours water over them during the traditional kissing festival called "Omed-Omedan" in Denpasar on the resort island of Bali on March 17, 2010. The annual ritual is held one day after the Hindu New Year called "Nyepi" in Bali, also celebrated as the "Day of Silence" where local young men and women gather in groups on a main road after prayer at the temple. The men compete against each other to kiss the girl while other douse the couple with water while they embrace in a kiss.
SONNY TUMBELAKA | AFP/Getty Images