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March 22, 2010

World Water Day

Today, March 22nd, is recognized by the United Nations Water Group as "World Water Day", this year's theme being "Clean Water for a Healthy World". Although we live on a water-covered planet, only 1% of the world's water is available for human use, the rest locked away in oceans, ice, and the atmosphere. The National Geographic Society feels so strongly about the issues around fresh water that they are distributing an interactive version of their April, 2010 magazine for download - free until April 2nd - and will be exhibiting images from the series at the Annenberg Space for photography. National Geographic was also kind enough to share 15 of their images below, in a collection with other photos from news agencies and NASA - all of water, here at home - Earth. (43 photos total)

The Maya believed natural wells, such as the Xkeken cenote in Mexico's Yucatan, led to the underworld. (John Stanmeyer, VII, © National Geographic)

A cross hewn for Epiphany in the ice of Maine's Kennebec River by parishioners of St. Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Church commemorates the baptism of Christ. The water from the carving will bless the church. (John Stanmeyer, VII, © National Geographic) #

India's holiest river, the Ganges, is scribbled with light from floating oil lamps during the Ganga Dussehra festival in Haridwar. Hindus near death often bathe in the river; some are later cremated beside it and have their ashes scattered on its waters. (John Stanmeyer, VII, © National Geographic) #

Jared Otieno, a worker with the Kenyan Ministry of environment and mineral resources, sprinkles water cupped in his hand as he and other workers who helped clean two-and-a-half miles of the Nairobi river basin in Nairobi greet foreign United Nations visitors to the river basin site on March 21, 2010. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) #

A photograph of sunlight reflected by waterways across the central United States, as seen from the International Space Station in November of 2003. The scene looks southwest from above Lake Michigan across the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, towards Texas near the horizon. At least two of the smaller lakes at bottom, near the Illinois River, are cooling ponds for nuclear power stations. (NASA/JSC) #

Floating on dreams and whispers, girls from a West Bank village cool off in the salt-laden waters of the Dead Sea. With its main tributary, the Jordan, at less than a tenth of its former volume, the inland sea has dropped some 70 feet since 1978. (Paolo Pellegrin, Magnum © National Geographic) #

After six years of drought, measuring sticks are useless at the Ziglab Dam in Jordan, built to catch water flowing west into the Jordan River for irrigation. Its reservoir has shrunk to a fifth of capacity and hasn't filled since 2003, forcing Jordan to ration water. (Paolo Pellegrin, Magnum © National Geographic) #

A man swims in a pool inside a condominium in Singapore March 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Nicky Loh) #

A boy swims in the murky waters of Manila Bay March 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo) #

Mount Everest's East Rongbuk Glacier has lost some 350 vertical feet of ice between August 1921 and October 2008. (David Breashears, © National Geographic) #

In Iceland the bountiful Kolgrima River inscribes the earth on its seaward path. (Hans Strand, © National Geographic) #

A swan swims at Lake Toepper (Toeppersee) in the western German city of Duisburg on March 11, 2010. (Jens Schlueter/AFP/Getty Images) #

Balancing on a slippery makeshift ladder, women pass precious gallons hand to hand up a well nine people deep in the Marsabit region of northern Kenya. After the water reaches the surface, the women will compete for it with thirsty livestock. (Lynn Johnson, © National Geographic) #

Gabra women in northern Kenya spend up to five hours a day carrying heavy jerry cans filled with murky water. A lingering drought has pushed this already arid region to a water crisis. (Lynn Johnson, © National Geographic) #

Homes are surrounded by flood waters from the swollen Red River, Sunday, March 21, 2010, south of Fargo, North Dakota. The river crested at Fargo today at about 37 feet, nearly four feet short of last year's record crest of nearly 41 feet. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) #

Flood water drains from a ditch along Interstate 29 March 21, 2010 south of Fargo, North Dakota. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

At up to six feet long, the Chinese giant salamander is the world's largest. It secretes a slippery, foul-smelling mucus when harassed, but that doesn't keep people from eating it and using it in folk medicines. (Joel Sartore, © National Geographic) #

Tracking the return of a native species to Tennessee's Abrams Creek, snorkeling scientists search under flat rocks for the smoky madtom - a two-inch catfish. (Joel Sartore, © National Geographic) #

Upsala Glacier as seen from the International Space Station in February of 2010. Upsala is a large valley glacier in Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park. Google Map. (NASA/JSC) #

Villagers and donkeys near Marsabit, Kenya, lean into a trough at the top of a "singing well" - so called because the people who form bucket brigades to bring the water up from deep underground sing as they work. Each visitor is allowed to fill only one large jerry can a day - and the women usually have to wait until after the animals have drunk their fill. (Lynn Johnson © National Geographic) #

This photo released on February 26, 2010 from the Australian Antarctic Division shows the the Mertz Glacier Tongue, a 160-kilometer spit of floating ice protruding into the Southern Ocean from East Antarctica, in 2007. Researchers said on February 25, 2010 that the iceberg the size of Luxembourg - or some 2,550 square kilometres (985 square miles) in size - knocked loose from the Antarctic continent earlier this month and could disrupt the ocean currents driving weather patterns around the globe. (B. LEGRESY/AFP/Getty Images) #

Dry conditions produce cracked earth at a reservoir in Shilin county, Yunnan province, China, on Thursday, March 4, 2010. Yunnan is experiencing its worst drought in more than 60 years. (Ariana Lindquist/Bloomberg) #

Southern California draws much of its water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which was diked and divided into farms more than a century ago. Many of the aging levees are at risk of failure. (© Edward Burtynsky, National Geographic) #

Once the city's main water source, the Los Angeles River is now a concrete channel fed by storm drains. City residents rely on water piped in from hundreds of miles away. (© Edward Burtynsky, National Geographic) #

A Chinese softball player hits a ball during a sandstorm in Beijing on March 20, 2010. Beijingers woke up to find the Chinese capital blanketed in yellow dust, as a sandstorm caused by a severe drought in the north and in Mongolia swept into the city. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man drinks from a pipe March 18, 2010 in the streets of quake-struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (THONY BELIZAIRE/AFP/Getty Images) #

A dead fish is seen floating in a polluted river on the outskirts of Yingtan, Jiangxi province March 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

Norwood Airport in Norwood, Massachusetts showed the impact of recent flooding on March 16, 2010 as crews undertook cleanup operations across the state. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff) #

A man delivers water from a water tank in shanty town Pamplona at Villa Maria Del Triunfo, near Peru's capital Lima, March 20, 2010. Working toilets and clean drinking water are unattainable luxuries for a third of the Peru's city dwellers and two-thirds of its rural population, one of the world's highest levels for a middle-income country that boasts a fast-growing economy, huge investor interest and ample Andean water resources. (REUTERS/Mariana Bazo) #

A picture taken on February 10, 2010 shows the Churchill dam as it is 17 percent full in the Kareedouw region, West of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The green pitch at Port Elizabeth's World Cup stadium has become an island in a sea of brown, exempt from restrictions imposed due to a drought that has scorched the land outside. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images) #

Mahendra Kumar surfaces to catch his breath as he dives into a polluted section of the River Yamuna to scavenge for ornaments and coins left by Hindu rituals at the river bank, in New Delhi, India, Monday, March 22, 2010. Officials say factories are ignoring regulations and dumping untreated sewage and industrial pollution, turning toxic the river that gives the capital much of its drinking water. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan) #

A villager bathes under a hose pipe used for the irrigation of rice field, as his son, left, looks on, on the outskirts of Amritsar, India, Monday, March 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

A floating restaurant is stranded in a branch of the Yangtze River in Chongqing Municipality, March 21, 2010. A severe drought across a large swath of southwest China is now affecting more than 50 million people, and forecasters see no signs of it abating in the short term, state media said on Friday. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

Pere David's deer, or milu, walk in water at the Yangtze River Swan Islet Pere David's Deer Nature Reserve on April 22, 2008 in Shishou of Hubei Province, China. The nature reserve, a wetland covering an area of about 69 square kilometers, contains over 1,000 Pere David's deer, the largest wild population of the animal in the world. (China Photos/Getty Images) #

4,000 baby bottles containing polluted water stand on the Bundesplatz in Bern, Switzerland, Monday, March 22. 2010. The action was organized by the Swiss association for International Cooperation Helvetas to highlight the UN's World Water Day. (AP Photo/Keystone/Peter Klaunzer) #

A fisherman paddles his canoe through dead fish along Manaquiri River, a tributary of the Amazon, near the city of Manaquiri, November 28, 2009. The world's biggest rainforest is suffering from seasonal drought, killing tons of fish. (REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker) #

A section of Lake Nasser in Egypt, a massive reservoir behind the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River, seen from the International Space Station in January of 2010. The lake is capable of storing some 157 cubic kilometers (37.5 cubic miles) of fresh water. Google Map. (NASA/JSC) #

Chinese villagers draw water from a 158-year-old well in Caojiazhuang village, on the outskirts of Guiyang, southwestern China's Guizhou province on March 20, 2010. Millions of people face drinking water shortages in southwestern China because of a once-a-century drought that has dried up rivers and threatens vast farmlands in Guizhou, Yunnan, and Sichuan provinces, the Guangxi region, and the mega-city of Chongqing for months, with rainfall 60 percent below normal since September. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Severed from the edge of Antarctica, this iceberg might float for years as it melts and releases its store of fresh water into the sea. The water molecules will eventually evaporate, condense, and recycle back to Earth as precipitation. (Camille Seaman, © National Geographic) #

Hoses used to supply residences with water are seen hanging across a street at the Penjaringan subdistrict in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 22, 2010. Residents in the area say that they have had to construct makeshift water supplies for their homes by attaching hoses to pumps bought with their own money, as the government has yet to repair the original water supply which was damaged. (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #

An Indian village boy runs through a parched field on World Water Day in Berhampur, Orissa state, India, Monday, March 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout) #

A Balinese couple kiss while the crowd pours water over them during the traditional kissing festival called "Omed-Omedan" in Denpasar on the resort island of Bali on March 17, 2010. The annual ritual is held one day after the Hindu New Year called "Nyepi" in Bali, also celebrated as the "Day of Silence" where local young men and women gather in groups on a main road after prayer at the temple. The men compete against each other to kiss the girl while other douse the couple with water while they embrace in a kiss. (SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A drop of water falls from a melting piece of ice on Argentina's Perito Moreno glacier near the city of El Calafate, in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, December 16, 2009. (REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci) #

 
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