DWS Spokesperson Sputnik Ratau and Yusuf Abramjee speaking on water conservation at Eldo Square, Pretoria
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) calls on the South African society to join it in celebrating the importance and centrality of water through the National Water Week from 18 to 24 March 2018 under the theme “Access to safe water by 2030 – possible through nature”. The national theme incorporates the Sustainable Development Goal 6 with the aspirations of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa whilst keeping its alignment with the international theme for World Water Day on 22 March, which is “Nature for Water”.
The objectives of the National Water Week campaign are to advocate for the protection of water sources and water conservation, encourage behavioural change towards the use, management, conservation, development and protection of water resources, and to mitigate natural disasters such as drought and floods. The campaign highlights the importance of water conservation, the protection of fresh water ecosystems and most importantly the exploration of nature based solutions for the water challenge.
DWS takes note of the global climate change challenges which have exacerbated the drought engulfing the country and the SADC region. Climate change also adds stress on the water sector by affecting the quality of water and further reducing the availability of the already limited resource.
Environmental damage together with inclement climate is driving the water related crises we see around the world. Floods, drought and water pollution are all made worse by degraded vegetation, soil, rivers, and lakes.
Through the theme, DWS focuses and encourages the public to focus on nature based solutions to water challenges. The central message is that nature based solutions such as planting trees to replenish forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains and restoring wetlands is a sustainable and cost effective way to help rebalance the water cycle, mitigate the effects of climate change and improve human health and livelihoods.