Celebrating 50 Years of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. This years theme is ‘Wetlands and Water’, highlights the role wetlands play in: clean water.
World Wetlands Day is an international day celebrated each year on 2 February. The 2 February marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971.
The Ramsar Convention
The Ramsar Convention aims to halt the global loss of wetlands and to conserve those that remain through wise use and management. Worldwide there are more than 2,400 listed wetlands of international importance.
In Australia there are 66 Ramsar sites wetlands of international importance covering about 8.3 million hectares. These sites include iconic wetlands such as Kakadu National Park, Roebuck Bay, Gippsland Lakes, Moreton Bay, Blue Lake, Macquarie Marshes and the Coorong.
Australia was one of the 5 founding nations to sign the Convention. In 1974 we designated the world’s first Ramsar Wetland, the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory. Australia continues to play an important role helping to manage and implement the Convention, within Australia and internationally.
Wetlands are areas of land saturated or flooded with water permanently or seasonally. There are a variety of wetlands including:
- Inland wetlands: marshes, peatlands ponds, lakes, rivers, floodplains, swamps, fens
- Coastal wetlands: saltwater marshes, estuaries, mangroves, lagoons, coral reefs
- Human-made wetlands: fish ponds, reservoirs, saltpans
Find out more about the importance of wetlands and water
The natural water cycle shows the constant movement of water around the world. Water moves through the processes of evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, run-off, infiltration and percolation.
The natural water cycle has been modified by people to ensure a constant water supply and the safe disposal of wastewater. The Urban Water Cycle incorporates the Water Supply System, Wastewater system and the Stormwater system.
Water is the most common substance found on earth, so why is it important? Water is essential for all forms of life and can dissolve nearly anything. It can exist as a gas (water vapour and steam), a liquid (water) and a solid (ice).
Water is essential for all life and is the most abundant substance on Earth, yet water scarcity is one of the biggest issues facing us today. Australia is the world’s driest inhabited continent and 2019 was the hottest and driest year on record.