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Hannah Johnston

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Tomorrow, March 22, is World Water Day, an event established by the United Nations in 1993 to highlight the challenges associated with this precious resource. Each year has a theme, and this year's is "Water and Food Security." The UN estimates that more than one in six people worldwide lack access to 20-50 liters (5-13 gallons) of safe freshwater a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. And as the world's population grows beyond 7 billion, clean water is growing scarcer in densely populated areas as well as in remote villages. Collected here are recent images showing water in our lives -- how we use it, abuse it, and depend on it. [36 photos]

A journalist takes a sample of polluted red water from the Jianhe River in Luoyang, Henan province, China, on December 13, 2011. According to local media, the sources of the pollution were two illegal chemical plants discharging their production wastewater into the rain sewer pipes. (Reuters/China Daily)

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PUSHING ON: A man pushed a woman in a wheelbarrow as they fled a suburb of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Thursday. Heavy fighting over the country’s disputed election may augur a return to civil war, the United Nations warned Thursday. (Issouf Sanogo/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

ARMED AND READY: A police officer patrolled in Baghdad Thursday. (Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters)

SHOUTING OUT: A protester shouted slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in San’a, Yemen, Thursday. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)

ON A MISSION: A rescue worker stood atop debris in Christchurch, New Zealand, Thursday. A massive search is under way to find victims of Tuesday’s earthquake, with hopes fading for hundreds still unaccounted for in the rubble. (Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

A SLEEP-IN: Demonstrators slept in the rotunda of the state capitol in Madison, Wis., in protest of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to pass a bill that would restrict collective bargaining. Democrats in the state Assembly agreed to a deal, but Democratic senators remain unavailable. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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