SADC: World Water Day sets a reminder for conservation of water.

By Loren Dondo

THE World Water Day is being celebrated virtually on the 22nd of March, this year, to remember the importance of water.

The theme for World Water Day 2021 is valuing water, which sheds light on the global water crisis.

As the awareness of the crisis continues, this year’s core focus of the event is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.

SDG 6 is to ensure water and sanitation for all.

In a message from the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, she stresses the conservation and utilisation of water resources.

“The value of water has long been underestimated and taken for granted,” she said.

“The more water resources get depleted, the more we all realise how important it is for human

survival. It is almost unimaginable to think of human existence without water, that is, if there would be life at all, because, as we always say, water is life.”

This year’s World Water Day commemoration focuses on ‘Valuing Water.

“SADC’s commitment to ensure access to affordable and clean water remains a priority for the region and this is well expressed in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-30 and the SADC Vision 2050,” Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax adds.

” The RISDP 2020-2030 and Vision 2050 call for the implementation of the SADC Regional Water Supply and
Sanitation Programme, which aims to improve the provision of water supply and sanitation as a means to promote good public health, socio-economic development,
regional integration and poverty alleviation.”

Additionally, SADC, believes that understanding the value of water is a critical starting point for the solutions needed to preserve water.

The current water access levels in the SADC region of about 60% have become a cause of concern, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it evident that it is essential to invest in the provision of adequate safe water and sanitation services to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Since the washing of hands with soap and water has proved to be effective in the prevention of the infectious disease, the World Water Day should serve as a reminder to treat water as a precious commodity.

“We need to start attaching
priceless value to water and take necessary steps towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on potable water and sanitation by 2030 as
well as the region’s commitment to increase access to potable water and sanitation to a minimum of 75% by 2027,” Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax says.

“I call upon all SADC Member States and the people of the region to do their part to conserve and efficiently utilise water, recognising that, once this resource is depleted, it will be at best difficult and, at worse, impossible to restore and many lives will be lost in the process.”

Before the challenge of limited availability of fresh water in the region becomes unmanageable, we must rise to the occasion to ensure that best water conservation practices are applied in line with SADC Regional Water Policy which provides a framework for sustainable, integrated and coordinated development, utilisation, protection, control of national and transboundary water resources in the

Water has sustained households, food, health, education, economics in society: it maintains the integrity of the natural environment.

Without a comprehensive understanding of water’s true value, it will be impossible to safeguard the resource for the benefit of everyone.

If the value of water is overlooked, the risk of losing this irreplaceable resource is inevitable.

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