There’s a day for everything! So what makes World Water Day different from World Nutella Day (February 9th)? Besides calories per serving, that is.

Since 1993, World Water Day has encouraged us to be more mindful, aware, and active in protecting this most precious resource. Initially a day that reminded us to conserve water in the shower, it has grown into an awareness of the complex nature of the world’s water issues and the urgency with which those issues need to be addressed. For example, over 2.5 times more people in the world lack water than live in the United States. Also, an American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country uses for an entire day.

Sustainable water resources are especially crucial in the context of a natural disaster. In the early aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, potable water was among the most urgent needs for survivors. Humanitarian agencies quickly delivered bulk water supplies in the form of tankards, jerry cans, and purification systems. At the same time, they took steps to assess and repair the water infrastructure to meet future demands. Through bulk water supplies and long-term water solutions, survivors of Typhoon Haiyan were provided with a life giving resource.

Ever think of donating water after a disaster? Consider this: sending bottled water to disaster sites can actually be unhelpful. Establishing potable water supplies is always a first priority for disaster responders, who are equipped to supply it expeditiously and in bulk. Donated bottled water  poses a significant trash disposal problem whether it’s used or not. For donors, shipping a six pack of water from the US to Manila costs at least $100, not including follow-on transport from Manila to areas hit by the Typhoon. For all that expense, a six pack will barely hydrate 1 person for one day. That same $100 would be much more effectively invested on World Water Day by donating it to a reputable organization with water and sanitation infrastructure and expertise. Want further proof? You can do the math on the CIDI Donations Calculator.

And remember to read all about the UN’s five year plan to make sure everyone has access to clean water and how you can be part of that effort: http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/about-world-water-day/world-water-day-2014-water-and-energy/en/.