Editorial The idea for a world day for water was proposed in 1992, the year that the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro took place. That same year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by which March 22 of each year was declared World Day for Water, to be observed starting in 1993. Since then, March 22 became an international day that focuses on the importance of freshwater. The theme of World Water Day 2020 is about water and climate change and how the two are inextricably linked.
Climate change will have a direct impact on precipitation, evaporation, and other hydrological factors and will change the global hydrological cycle, thus leading to the spatial and temporal redistribution of water resources, causing a series of water safety issues. With rapid socioeconomic development and urbanization over the past 40 years, China’s water environment situation has become increasingly complex, and the health impact of water safety has become one of the import public health issues. Access to safe drinking water is an important basis for population health.
The Chinese Government issued the Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Water Pollution (the State Council, 2015) to strengthen the prevention and control of water pollution and ensure drinking water safety. The Outline of the “Healthy China 2030” Initiative addressed the importance of enhancing health risk assessment systems in environmental health issue.
On the World Water Day 2020, China CDC Weekly launch the commentary, summarizing the status of the hydrological environment and the actions taking place to protect drinking water in China and discusses the prospects on challenges of climate change and drinking water safety that China may face in the future.
Water safety refers to the ability of a state or a region to obtain needed water resources and water resource products and the ability to maintain sustainable ecological practices to protect the environment. The current state of water safety in China could be characterized by challenges in water scarcity, uneven distribution of water resources both spatially and temporally, and poor water quality (1).
Therefore, China will experience severe water stress based on shortages in the availability of water and the quality of water in the near future. Besides taking measures to reduce global warming and fighting against water pollution, China should address the issues of drinking water scarcity and safety, conduct health risk evaluation and management, improve the environmental health surveillance, establish health risk assessment systems, and focus on major public health issues that emphasizes the crucial transition from data monitoring to health risk assessment.
In this paper, the status of the water environment and the actions taking place on drinking water in China are summarized. Finally, the prospects on challenges of climate change and drinking water safety we may face in the future are discussed.