INTERNATIONAL Water Week is marked around the world every year from 15 to 23 March and the Keep Tongaat Beautiful Association (KTBA) held a water awareness programme of its own at the V Moonsamy Hall on 15 March to celebrate the event.

Chairman of the association Soobrie Govendsamy, who has been running water awareness programmes every week for 15 years, said one of the highlights of the event in March was the address of Bongani Hlophe, a community liaison officer of water affairs at eThekwini municipality.

“Mr Hlophe spoke on the importance of water, its current state of scarcity, as well as water management for sustainable development,” said Govendsamy.

“Our guest speaker said that water, as a natural commodity, is an “endangered species”, and irreplaceable, and that if a third world war was to take place, it would probably be fought over the reclamation of water resources,” he added.

Govendsamy said the idea behind water week is to remind the public to take care of their water resources and save as much as possible, as South Africans are currently using water at a rate that exceeds national water reserves.

Hlophe also discussed the low levels of dams around South Africa; especially the Hazelmere and Midmar dams, which speak to the severity of the drought problem around the country.

“The dangerously low levels of Hazelmere and Midmar may force water suppliers to cut off flow every day from 10pm until early in the morning, as it has happened in some areas already,” said Hlophe, who added that the drought is having a devastating effect on the national economy.

The lack of rainfall due to the high-pressure El Niño weather front has led to crops across the country; including sugarcane and maize to be seriously affected, with annual yields lower by an average of 30% in most areas.

In light of these factors, Govendsamy said drastic measures need to be taken by all of us to better protect the dwindling water resources we have at our disposal.

Source: Working for water | News24