World Water Day 2022: Ending water injustice and keeping water public

March 22 is World Water Day – a day to highlight the vital importance of water for human life and ecological health and, as such, the need to protect water resources from pollution, privatization, and commercialization. Access to safe, reliable water and wastewater services is a human right, and water utilities and resources that are publicly owned, operated, and managed are at the heart of healthy communities.

This year’s global observance focuses on groundwater – an invisible resource with an impact visible everywhere. Groundwater accounts for 99% of all freshwater on earth and our drinking water, food supply and natural environment rely on groundwater. Its protection and management are vital to sustainable development and ending poverty, food security and a healthy society with good jobs. The United Nations World Development Report 2022, Groundwater: Making the invisible visible, highlights the challenges with the development, management and governance of groundwater across the world. Watch the video with the report here.

The United Nations General Assembly recognized water and sanitation as fundamental human rights in 2010. The Council of Canadians is calling on the federal government to implement a comprehensive National Water Policy that takes needed action to safeguard and protect water as a public trust.

Many Indigenous communities in Canada continue to remain under boil water advisories and without reliable access to safe drinking water. CUPE stands in solidarity demanding an end to water injustice. More urgent federal government action and sustainable long-term funding for operations and maintenance is needed to end the water crisis in Indigenous communities.

CUPE has a long history of defending public water and wastewater services from privatization. On World Water Day, we renew our commitment to defend public water services and resources from private ownership and control. Cash-strapped communities should be cautious of privatization threats posed by the federal Liberal government’s Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB). CUPE has produced a list of 10 essential questions for municipalities regarding the CIB and a guide for municipalities considering P3s to ask the right questions.

On World Water Day 2022, we join in the call to end water injustice experienced by Indigenous communities and remain committed as Canada’s leading union to defend water infrastructure from privatization.

Published by the Division Office / NM cope 342

Links and Resources:


  • Council of Canadians: The Blue Communities Project – encourages municipalities and Indigenous communities to support the idea of a water commons framework, recognizing that water is a shared resource for all, by passing resolutions that: recognize water and sanitation as human rights; ban or phase out the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities and at municipal events; and promote publicly financed, owned, and operated water and wastewater services.


  • Council of Canadians: The Blue Planet Project – a global initiative by the Council of Canadians working with partners around the world to achieve water justice based on the principles that water is a human right, a public trust, and part of the global commons.