Many people might not be aware that water is a very precious commodity that is on the brink of becoming scarce, not only here in South Africa but globally. It is for this reason that an International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March, as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of our freshwater resources.
The International World Water Day, 22 March, was established in 1992 during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and focuses on different themes related to water every year.
South Africa has dedicated the week from 17th to 23 March 2014 to be National Water Week to raise awareness and educate the public on this important issue. This week is aimed at reiterating the value of water and the need for sustainability of this priceless resource which is fast becoming scarce. The awareness campaign not only aims at showing the vulnerability of this resource but to also highlight the role water plays in eradicating poverty, especially for hose people who live in slums and impoverished rural areas and survive without access to safe drinking water, sufficient food and energy services.
The Durban University of Technology’s Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology acknowledges the importance finds the water awareness week highly relevant for the University. Professor Thor Axel Stenström, DUT’s SARCHI Chairperson, says that this year’s theme ‘Water and Energy’ directly relates to efficient ways of making use of wastewater for energy production by microalgae.
“This emphasis on the green economy, water and energy can be further broadened to efficient treatment, both traditionally and in relation to membrane technologies. It further relates to efficient ways of saving water, both in municipalities as well as for irrigation in food production and for energy crops,” said Prof Stenström.
Prof Stenström is also actively involved in United Nations (UN) activities on water, further emphasising that this day (International World Water Day) additionally focuses on the essential component of safety against chemical pollutants that embrace health, technology development, catchment related activities and community issues, all essential components in interrelated DUT research activities.
The Department of Water Affairs’ theme for Water Week is “Water is life-20 years of water delivery for Social Economic Development” which coincides with South Africa’s celebration of 20 years of freedom and democracy. The department is encouraging all South Africans to focus on the need to restore and preserve the integrity of water and manage it in an effective and sustainable manner.
If you are experiencing water-related problems, contact the eThekwini Municipality: Water Sanitation on 080 131 3013 (toll free), 083 707 3013 (sms line), 031 311 8220 (fax) or email: email@example.com