Groundwater is invisible, but its impact is visible everywhere. Out of sight, under our feet, groundwater is a hidden treasure that enriches our lives. In the driest parts of the world, it may be the only water people have.

Almost all of the liquid freshwater in the world is groundwater, supporting drinking water supplies, sanitation systems, farming, industry and ecosystems. In many places, human activities over-use and pollute groundwater. In other places, we simply do not know how much water is down there. 

Groundwater will play a critical role in adapting to climate change. We need to work together to sustainably manage this precious resource.


What is groundwater? 

Groundwater is water found underground in aquifers, which are geological formations of rocks, sands and gravels that can hold water. 


Why should we care about groundwater? 

Groundwater is being over-used in many areas, where more water is abstracted from aquifers than is recharged by rain and snow. 

Groundwater pollution is a particular problem that can take decades or even centuries to recover from. 

In some places, we do not know how much groundwater lies beneath our feet, which means we could be failing to harness a potentially vital water resource. 

Exploring, protecting and sustainably using groundwater will be central to surviving and adapting to climate change and meeting the needs of a growing population. 


What can we do about groundwater? 

We must protect groundwater from pollution and use it sustainably, balancing the needs of people and the planet. Groundwater’s vital role in water and sanitation systems, agriculture, industry, ecosystems and climate change adaptation must be reflected in sustainable development policymaking. 


World Water Day is on 22 March every year. It is an annual United Nations Observance, started in 1993, that celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2 billion people currently living without access to safe water. A core focus of World Water Day is to inspire action towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.



Facts, information and stories to help you share the campaign and learn more about groundwater’s critical role.

Download the World Water Day 2022 Factsheet in Arabic, ChineseEnglish, French, Hindi, PortugueseRussian, Spanish and Swahili

Image position

What is being done?

The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Singapore to the United Nations host a water exhibition titled “Building Water Resilience and Sustainability: The Singapore Perspective”, at the United Nations headquarter in New York City. This exhibition, which will be held ...
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, in his message for World Water Day 2022 said, “Water can be a source of conflict but also of cooperation. It is essential that we work together to provide better stewardship of all water sources, including ...
UN-Water’s Chair Mr Gilbert Houngbo
UN-Water’s Chair Mr Gilbert Houngbo opened today’s World Water Day celebrations with a video message to world leaders and experts from the water sector and beyond. Mr Houngbo said, “For policy-makers in the water sector and beyond, groundwater may be ...
UN WWDR 2022
As water scarcity grows across the world due to climate change, groundwater’s immense potential cannot be overlooked. This short video by the UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme promotes the findings of the 2022 edition of the United Nations World Water ...
The UN World Water Development Report 2022 “Groundwater - making the invisible visible” is launched on 21 March 2022 at the opening ceremony of the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal. The report and World Water Day 2022 sets ...