Dwindling water resources prompted the creation of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Lentern Campaign ‘Seven Weeks for Water’, pre-launched in Fiji.
The launch ceremony was held at the Nawanawa Methodist Church in Nasinu outside the capital city, Suva.
The Campaign, that builds up to Easter is a time to reflect on the gift of water from God that is squandered and rapidly becoming a scarce resource the world over.
Water scarcity refers to the lack of fresh water resources to meet water demand. The problem is so grave it was listed by the 2019 World Economic Forum as one of the largest global risks.
According to the World Wildlife Fund 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water and about 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year and two million people, mostly children, die each year from diarrheal diseases alone.
Human interference with water systems have resulted in stressed water systems. Rivers, lakes and aquifers are drying up or too polluted for use. More than half of wetlands have disappeared.
Major contributing factors include inefficient agricultural systems, the commodification of water and now exacerbated by climate change.
Preaching at the pre-launch that was attended by members of the WCC Pilgrimage for Justice and Peace to Fiji, staff of the Pacific Theological College and the ecumenical family of Christ President of the Fiji Council of Churches Reverend Tevita Bainivanua said that if water is a gift from God it must be given and freely received.
He challenged Christians to do something, to act, to rise and lead the protection of this gift because it is about standing up for justice.
‘Water is a resource under siege,’ said Rev. Bainivanua.
‘It is calling on Pacific Christian communities to step up and champion the fight to protect water sources instead of just waiting on Governments and other non-government organisations to act.’
‘It is sad to see rivers and creeks, even in the Pacific Islands dying because of the desecration of the environment and the commodification of water.’
‘Across the world, deserts are spreading, spurred on by human greed and climate change.’
‘Increasingly, more people are facing grave injustices of being unable to access water.’
‘It is the duty of Christians to help bring about justice and peace for all because the future of water is the future of humanity.’
The Lent Campaign was devised by WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network (WCC-EWN).
Mr. Dinesh Suna, the Coordinator for WCC-EWN said during the seven weeks of Lent, theological reflections will focus on water.