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March 19, 2012

World Water Day 2012

World Water Day is observed on March 22 every year. The day to recognize the importance of earth's most precious natural resource was proposed 20 years ago at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. While we often take water for granted, many cannot. And water plays a role in almost everything we do. We drink it, wash in it, play in it, generate power with it, irrigate crops with it, travel and transport goods on it, fight fires with it, and worship with it. Gathered here are images of water from the last year in all its uses, in scarcity and in abundance. -- Lane Turner (48 photos total)

A child bathes from a public tap in his neighborhood in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on March 6, 2012. A UNICEF report says unhygienic conditions cause an estimated 1. 2 million child deaths before the age of five from diarrhea worldwide every year. The report says in urban areas access to improved water and sanitation is not keeping pace with population growth. (Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press)

A farmer waters his paddy field in Pobitora village, India on February 29, 2012. (Anupam Nath/Associated Press) #

Men bathe on a water pipe above a sewage drain in New Delhi on December 20, 2011. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

A boy takes a bath at a community water tank provided by the city municipality as a man relaxes on a charpoy in New Delhi, India on June 24, 2011. (Saurabh Das/Associated Press) #

Hindu priests perform "Parjanya Yagya," a ritual to bring rains though Vedic techniques, in Ahmadabad, India on June 26, 2011. (Ajit Solanki/Associated Press) #

A tea garden laborer drinks water as she plucks tea leaves in a field of the Kiranchandra Tea Estate on the outskirts of Siliguri, India on October 14, 2011. Tea growers in northeastern India say climate change has hurt the country's tea crop, leading not just to a drop in production but also subtly altering the flavor of their brew. (Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images) #

Snorkelers swim with a whale shark just outside Hanifaru Bay of Maldives' remote Baa Atoll on August 11, 2011. Every year, hundreds of whale sharks and giant manta rays gather for their annual feeding frenzy of plankton in July and August, in the geologically unique Hanifaru Bay. For reasons of conservation, Maldives is likely to shut down Hanifaru Bay to divers. (David Loh/Reuters) #

Abduljaleel Jabbar, 46, washes himself at a water point on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan on June 24, 2011. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press) #

A villager who fled with others from Pakistani tribal areas where security forces are fighting against militants, fetches water from a well in the slums of Islamabad on July 14, 2011. (K.M.Chaudary/Associated Press) #

Pakistani Army soldiers with the 20th Lancers Armored Regiment melt snow for drinking water at the Kalpani Base atop an 8000-foot mountain in Pakistan's Dir province on the Afghan border. (Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press) #

A labourer walks past a water gauge pillar while working to repair a portion of the Aliwan Band embankment in Sukkur, Pakistan on June 27, 2011. Up to five million people in Pakistan are at risk from floods this year, partly due to poor reconstruction and the inadequate rehabilitation of survivors who are still reeling from last year's epic deluge, according to the United Nations. (Akhtar Soomro/Reuters) #

A vendor makes water bubbles during the last sunset of the year 2011 in Islamabad on December 31, 2011. (Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images) #

Tourists watch as water is discharged at the Xiaolangdi Reservoir on the Yellow River in Jiyuan, China on June 22, 2011. (China Daily/Reuters) #

Children swim along the algae-filled coastline of Qingdao, China on July 17, 2011. Green algae continues to spread in waters off China's east coastline and although not poisonous, it can hinder the fishing industry and tourism in affected areas. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Villagers carry pails of water they collected from a well back to their homes in Yiliang, China on February 27, 2012. A drought in Yunnan province has left 3.19 million people and 1.58 million livestock short of drinking water, the provincial government said, as drought and low rainfall in three consecutive years have dried up 273 rivers and 413 small reservoirs in the province. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Italy's Maurizio Felugo (right) tries to score a goal as Spain's Marc Minguell defends during a match for the men's water polo competition at the FINA Swimming World Championships in Shanghai on July 26, 2011. (Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press) #

A farmer waters vegetable plants on his paddy field in the Jeneponto district in Indonesia's South Sulawesi province on July 19, 2011. Indonesia's government plans to import rice as farmers in the Jeneponto district have resorted to planting vegetables instead of rice due to a long drought. (Yusuf Ahmad/Reuters) #

The Quiapo church is reflected in water in Manila on January 5, 2012. (Brent Lewin/Bloomberg) #

A resident shuttles tap water using a makeshift raft in a flooded compound in Malabon, north of Manila on September 29, 2011. (John Javellana/Reuters) #

Tuvalu, a group of atolls situated north of Fiji and northwest of Samoa in the South Pacific ocean, are suffering a severe drought and water shortage, coupled with contaminated ground water due to rising sea levels. The governments of Australia, New Zealand and the United States are providing desalination plants to alleviate the critical water shortage for some 10,000 islanders. (Alastair Grant/Associated Press) #

Marine life animates the waters of Raja Ampat in the eastern Indonesian region of Papua located between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Called the last paradise on earth, Raja Ampat archipelago was nominated as a World Heritage Site of UNESCO with its 610 rocky islets sprinkled over an area of 4.5 million hectares, boasting pristine sandy beaches and the world's richest variety of marine life. (Simon Chandra/AFP/Getty Images) #

Men wear loincloths as they splash about in freezing cold water during Saidaiji Naked Festival at Saidaiji Temple on February 18, 2012 in Okayama, Japan. Saidaiji Naked Festival (Hadaka Matsuri) is one of Japan's more eccentric festivals and takes place each year in the winter. About 9,000 men take part and battle to grab for pair of lucky sticks thrown by priests. (Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images) #

A competitor in action during the wakeboard event in the Moomba Masters Water Ski International Invitational Championships during the Moomba Festival on March 12, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. (Scott Barbour/Getty Images) #

Joseph Irungu (left) and one of his workers dump effluent from pit latrines from Nairobi's Korogocho slum into a local water course. About 1.5 million children are believed to die each year from disease contracted from bad sanitation. (Khalil Senosi/Associated Press) #

A man walks with a water container in the Dagahaley refugee camp, which makes up part of the giant Dadaab refugee settlement, on July 19, 2011 in Dadaab, Kenya. The ongoing civil war in Somalia and the worst drought to affect the Horn of Africa in six decades has resulted in an estimated 12 million people whose lives are threatened. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images) #

A child drinks water in el-Srief, North Darfur, on July 25, 2011, as some 40,000 liters of water is distributed as part of a DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration) outreach activity, organized by the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur among the local community. The nearest water point is 15 kilometers away. (Albert Gonzalez Farran/AFP/Getty Images) #

Sudanese men pull drinking water from a well in Shendi, Sudan. Lack of drinking water remains to be problematic in most homes in Shendi. (Abd Raouf/Associated Press) #

A malnourished child lies on the floor of Banadir hospital in Mogadishu on July 5, 2011. The worst drought i in the Horn of Africa has sparked a severe food crisis and high malnutrition rates, with parts of Kenya and Somalia experiencing pre-famine conditions, the United Nations has said. More than 10 million people are now affected in drought-stricken areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda and the situation is deteriorating. (Farah Abdi Warsameh/Associated Press) #

Workers hose down a reservoir in Portland, Ore. with a chlorine disinfectant after a man was caught on camera urinating in the water. Seven and half million gallons of treated water was flushed away. (Rick Bowmer/Associated Press) #

A girl smiles while covered in mud during Wayne County's 2011 Mud Day event at Nankin Mills Park July 12, 2011 in Westland, Michigan. The annual event consists of 20,000 gallons of water mixed with 200 tons of topsoil. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images) #

A small pool of red sludge-like water, all that remains in O.C. Fisher Lake, sits at the base of the dam on July 25, 2011 in San Angelo, Texas. The pool is the last water remaining in the 5,440 acre lake which was established to provide flood control and serve as a secondary drinking water source for San Angelo and the surrounding communities following an extended drought in the region. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

The Great Salt Lake in Utah serves as a striking visual marker for astronauts orbiting over North America in the space shuttle Atlantis on July 9, 2011. A sharp line across the lake's center is caused by the restriction in water flow from a railroad causeway. The eye-catching colors of the lake stem from the fact that Great Salt Lake is hypersaline, typically three to five times saltier than the ocean. (NASA/Associated Press) #

A Louisiana National Guard helicopter dumps water on a burning marsh fire in Eastern New Orleans on August 31, 2011. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press) #

Airplanes sit on the west of the runway at the Bloomsburg Airport, in Bloomsburg, Pa. as flood water from the Susquehanna River continues to cover the airport on September 8, 2011. (Jimmy May/Bloomsburg Press Enterprise/Associated Press) #

Water drops clung to the bottom of a leaf in Harrisonburg, Va. on November 15, 2012. (Justin Falls/Daily News-Record/Associated Press) #

Sean Phillips flies through the air as he demonstrates the JetLev water-propelled jet pack strapped to his back at the Yacht & Brokerage Show on February 17, 2012 in Miami Beach. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)#

Police use a water canon against a demonstrator during a student demonstration in Santiago, Chile on October 6, 2011. (Luis Hidalgo/Associated Press)#

An Egyptian protester sprays water in the eyes of a fellow demonstrator after tear gas was fired by security forces at Tahrir Square in Cairo on November 21, 2011. (Mohammed Hossam/AFP/Getty Images)#

While Tehran's temperatures reach over 95 degrees Fahrenheit, a boy walks through a public water fountain at the Ebrahim Park in Tehran on July 13, 2011. (Vahid Salemi/Associated Press)#

Israeli Arab children play in water walking balls on the second day of Eid al-Fitr in the port city of Acre on the Mediterranean coast in northern Israel on August 31, 2011. (Tsafrir Abayov/Associated Press)#

Iraqis fill containers of water from a public water hose on open ground in Baghdad's eastern suburb of Fadaliayah on September 22, 2011. The neighborhood has no municipal water supply. (Karim Kadim/Associated Press)#

An Afghan boy pushes a wheelbarrow with water canisters during a snow storm in a refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan on February 17, 2012. Many neighborhoods in Kabul have no access to running water. (Ahmad Jamshid/Associated Press)#

A girl washes her feet from a water tap in the courtyard of a block of flats in Baia Mare, Romania on July 21, 2011 where the mayor has decided to construct a wall around the flats housing a majority of Roma families. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images)#

Jan Benzien of Germany competes in the canoe slalom at Lee Valley White Water Centre in Broxbourne, England on July 30, 2011. (Eddie Keogh/Reuters)#

Event curators Harry Parr (left) and Sam Bompas sit in paddle boats in the Truvia Voyage of Discovery installation on the roof of a department shop on July 21, 2011 in London. The installation includes a boating lake with dyed water and a bar. (Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)#

A boat is stranded along the Danube river in Belgrade on December 2, 2011. Record low water levels have pushed up power prices across the Balkans and may force local utilities to further boost expensive power imports to meet demand. Utility companies have already tapped power markets as water levels - mainly on the Danube, Sava and Drina rivers - have hit their lowest levels in 30 years. (Ivan Milutinovic/Reuters)#

A reservoir with little water waits for rain on March 7, 2012 on the Spanish Canary island of Tenerife as Spanish farmers are already on drought alert after the country's driest winter in 70 years. (Desiree Martin/AFP/Getty Images)#

A church and the remains of an ancient village usually covered by water emerge inside the reservoir of Mediano in Huesca, Spain on March 13, 2012. The reservoir, built in the 1950s, submerged a village called Mediano and its 16th century church, and is now so low on water that the ruins of buildings are now uncovered. (Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press)#