MUT and partners commemorate National Water Week

Dr Thobile Poswa, HOD, Environmental Health, seated, left, with partners from the various organisations, and Thulisile, fourth from right
Dr Thobile Poswa, HOD, Environmental Health, seated, left, with partners from the various organisations, and Thulisile, fourth from right

As water continues to be a scarce resource around the world, Mangosuthu University Technology (MUT) and the Department of Health, Umgeni Water, and eThekwini Municipality joined forces to commemorate National Water Week.  At the event, which was hosted by MUT’s Department of Environmental Health on Tuesday 19 March 2019, all parties harmoniously sent out a strong message that water was a fundamental human need and played an essential role in all forms of life.

The event was hosted to commemorate the International Water Week which is commemorated through a series of events in South African and the rest of the world. The 2019 International Water Week is commemorated from 18 March to 24 March.

Commenting on the importance of water as a scarce resource that needed to be well looked after,  Thulisile Mtshengu, Lecturer in the MUT’s Environmental Health department, said water was essential for the people’s health, food production, and the environment. “What makes water even more important is the fact that South Africa is a water scarce country receiving around half of the global average annual rainfall. This fact is exacerbated by an escalating demand due to economic and population growth, urbanisation and rising standards of living, unsustainable use and high levels of wastage and loss, as well as increasing pollution which renders water unfit for use,” said Mtshengu.

Thulisile said the objectives of the National Water Week were “to strive through a collaborative effort and active engagement of government departments, private companies, academia, community members and stakeholders in the sector, to find solutions to water conservation, pollution, climate change, as well as floods and droughts”.

Over the years the importance of water and its scarcity has been highlighted by the fact that the United Nation’s General Assembly on 22 December 1992 adopted a resolution to declare 22 March of each year the World Water Day. This day is observed annually and focuses on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The UN aims to ensure that everyone in the world has access to safe water by 2030.

The UN goal was further emphasised at the event by Belinda Makhafola of the Department of Health when she said that the 2019 slogan for the event was “leaving no one behind”, and it aimed at reducing inequalities in access to safe and reliable water supplies for all.