The South African Government is committed, as part of its key outcomes, to working towards the protection of its environmental assets and to securing natural resources that are well protected and continually enhanced. As part of this commitment, on Friday, 2 September, the Water Research Commission (WRC) in partnership with NGOs Outlook Foundation & Edbook Media, GCIS Tshwane and the City of Tshwane launched the Water and Environment Library Shelf Campaign, aimed at raising awareness about the water and environmental issues that affect our communities.
The campaign is aimed at sharing the latest water research studies with libraries and Thusong Service Centres, offering specific information relevant to the towns, cities and catchment areas in which these information centres are situated. The need for these resources has become more urgent as South Africa faces severe water shortages, which are further exacerbated by extreme weather events associated with climate change. The country is prone to such severe weather conditions which can be a direct threat to the lives and properties of citizens.
“Water is life; use it sparingly and save it!” This was the short but powerful message delivered by WRC Group Executive Manager for Innovation and Impact, Dr Mandla Msibi. In his presentation he emphasized the importance of using water wisely as South Africa is a water-scarce country.
The audience was also addressed by Dr Curtis Mabena, Director: Transformation, at the Department of Water and Sanitation. Dr Mabena said, “We forget that we drink water that comes from our sewage systems. If you see people dumping rubbish in our water resources (rivers, dams, drainage systems), we should be concerned because you are going to drink that water one day”, said Dr. Mabena.
Dr Mabena further stressed that people are disposing of hazardous objects such as soiled baby nappies, menstrual products, dead animals and human excrement, unaware that the very same water will be processed, chemically cleaned and returned for re-use that includes human consumption. “Water is precious, use it, love it and preserve it because there is no substitute for it”, concluded Dr. Mabena.
The Water and Environment Library Shelf Campaign will make use of dissemination platforms such as Thusong Services Centres and community libraries to make knowledge generated by current water research easily available for the benefit of communities and decision-making authorities.
Commenting on the event, Mme Modiehi, a Mamelodi West resident and one of the attendees said; “I fully endorse this campaign. Saving water is the responsibility of all of us. I wish people running car wash businesses could embrace the campaign as well as those at the hostels. Let us all report irresponsible usage of water.”
“The launch was enlightening as people are less informed about the water cycle, for example. People don’t realize the effort involved in cleaning and delivering water to various households. Let us take ownership and responsibility for preserving our water”, said Mrs. Bongi Nthodi Mthembu, speaking after the launch.
For more on saving water visit www.wrc.org.za