The International Day of Action for Rivers is celebrated every year on March 14 to raise awareness about the worth and importance of rivers. It also brings people from across the world to discuss and spread awareness about conserving rivers, river management, pollution, and equitable access to clean and flowing water. This year marks the 26th anniversary of the International Day of Action for Rivers, with a theme 'Rights of Rivers.' On this day each year, we raise our voices simultaneously to condemn destructive water development projects, reclaim our rivers and watersheds, and demand the equitable and sustainable management of our waterways. By acting together, we demonstrate that these issues are not merely local, but in Global range.

History Of International Day Of Actions For Rivers

The International Day of Action against Dams and For Rivers, Water and Life was acquired by the participants of the first International Meeting of People Affected by Dams, March 1997 in Curitiba Brazil. Representatives from 20 countries decided that the International Day of Action would take place on March 14 – Brazil’s Day of Action against Large Dams. Our goal on this International Day of Action for Rivers, is to mark up our voices in simultaneously against destructive water development projects, recover the health of our watersheds, and demand the equitable and sustainable management of rivers. The first international meeting of dam-affected people, organized by a committees including:

  • International Rivers Network (IRN)
  • India’s Save the Narmada Movement (NBA)
  • Chile’s BiobĂ­o Action Group (GABB)
  • European Rivers Network (ERN) 


The International Day of Action for Rivers is a day dedicated to solidarity – when diverse communities around the world come together with one voice to say that rivers matter.' The day raises and spreads awareness about how rivers sustain our lives. It focuses on restoring and maintaining rivers, as well as on freshwater ecosystems (rivers) as a source of clean water for irrigation and drinking.

As humans have modified river systems to meet their needs, the natural variability characteristic of rivers has been greatly reduced. Most rivers are no longer free to course across the landscape hindered by infrastructure and most major rivers no longer exhibit their historic range of flow variability. Yet, flow variability over time and space is a fundamental characteristic of natural rivers and a river’s flow system, in concert with sediment inputs, determines not only geomorphic adaptations, but organic(living) composition and figures of key ecosystem processes, such as initial production. These adaptations, which include the lateral migration of channels and active interactions between the creek bed, floodplain, and riparian forests, are part of a healthy river’s response to changes in the surrounding landscape and changes in discharge. In fact, these adjustments allow rivers to absorb disturbances and safeguard the ecosystem and surrounding land from the impacts of floods and anthropogenic effects.

Many rivers are already under a great deal of stress due to excessive water withdrawal or land development, and this stress may be aggravate by changes in climate, prediction and planning adaptive plans may be critical. The identification and prioritization of actions that can be taken now to enhance the resilience of riverine ecosystems in the face of disturbance may minimize impacts, such as biodiversity loss or severe flooding. Even if no actions are taken at this time, identifying coping options should help prepare societies for dealing with climate induced problems.

The Goals For The Day Of Action

  • Building and strengthening networks within the international movement working to protect and restore rivers, and defending the rights of communities that depend on healthy watersheds.
  • Protesting destructive dam projects and the development model they advance.
  • Promoting alternative ways of meeting people’s needs for water and energy.
  • Highlight the values of our rivers, strives to increase public awareness, and encourages the improved stewardship of all rivers around the world.

About the Author: Muhammad Urs is the student of B.S Environmental Science(final year), climate activist, and a green blogger raising awareness on environmental issues.