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World Water Day is observed on March 22 every year. The day to recognize the importance of earth's most precious natural resource was proposed 20 years ago at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. While we often take water for granted, many cannot. And water plays a role in almost everything we do. We drink it, wash in it, play in it, generate power with it, irrigate crops with it, travel and transport goods on it, fight fires with it, and worship with it. Gathered here are images of water from the last year in all its uses, in scarcity and in abundance. -- Lane Turner (48 photos total)
A child bathes from a public tap in his neighborhood in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on March 6, 2012. A UNICEF report says unhygienic conditions cause an estimated 1. 2 million child deaths before the age of five from diarrhea worldwide every year. The report says in urban areas access to improved water and sanitation is not keeping pace with population growth. (Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press)

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Former First Lady Betty Ford is honored and remembered at her funeral and tribute at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert; the head of France’s Debout La Republique party stages a one-man protest during a debate at the French Assembly in Paris; in southwestern France, animated young fans atop a crane sporting the national flag wait for competitors in the Tour de France cycling race to pass by.

From Phoenix, we have three images of a baseball fan almost falling from the stands while trying to catch a ball during a home run derby (read more); at the British Open, John Daly doesn’t disappoint with his choice of golfing pants; we see a colorful mural in Havana; passengers on a brightly painted bus in Islamabad, Pakistan, pass the scene of an explosion.

These are a just few of the highlights; we have many more images for you from around the world today.

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