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 and polluted in many areas, where more water is abstracted from aquifers than is recharged by rain and snow. 

Groundwater is polluted in many areas, which is a particular problem as this can take decades or even centuries to recover from. 

In other 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, HindiRussian, Spanish and Swahili. Version in Portuguese will be available shortly.

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What is being done?

UNESCO is committed to engaging with youth and young scientists as knowledge holders, change-makers and leaders that contribute to addressing water security. The Groundwater and Settlement Section of the Water Sciences Division of UNESCO is proposing to create a Groundwater ...
Groundwater summit 2022
The UN-Water Summit on Groundwater 2022 aims to bring attention to groundwater at the highest international level. Held in December 2022, the Summit will use the UN World Water Development Report 2022 as a baseline and the SDG 6 Global ...
Groundwater catalogue
A catalogue on groundwater management and governance tools, measures and instruments is being developed and will be introduced during the UN-Water Groundwater Summit, to be held in December 2022. The Groundwater Catalogue will be accompanied by a set of international ...
World Water Day is just one of the ways in which the theme of groundwater is being highlighted this year, below are a few groundwater related activities in 2022: 21-26 March 9th World Water Forum: "Water security for peace and ...
Lions Club of Seregno AID
The Lions Club of Seregno AID is organising the sixth edition of the World Water Day Photo Contest focusing on the theme of ‘Water - making the invisible visible’. The competition is open to all lovers of photography and to ...
WMO data
The World Meterological Organization (WMO) generates high quality hydrological data, products and services. WMO’s three Global Hydrological Data Centres help “build a water value chain from data collection to decision”: The Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC) The International Groundwater Resource ...