According to South African Human Rights Commission, Chapter 2 of the Constitution of South Africa provides that everyone has the right to have access to sufficient food and water. Citizens however, have a responsibility to preserve and save water so that it can last for many generations to come. As a country we continue to experience serious multi-year droughts, particularly in the Western Northern and Eastern Cape provinces., Cape Town’s near to “Day Zero” experience and water supply restrictions was one of the most recent scares.
A number of small towns and cities continue to be threatened by water supply failures. These have a direct impact on the quality of life for the citizens and for farmers to maintain healthy crop and livestock. Although the dams that supply most of the main urban areas are still at reasonable levels due to the recent rainfall, there are still growing fears that the country may still witness the start of a major drought. As the country marked World Water Day and Water Awareness Month in March under this year’s theme “Valuing Water”, it is essential to note the critical role water plays in people’s lives economically, socially, culturally especially in the midst of a global epidemic.
Access to clean water and decent sanitation remains central for the health and wellbeing of societies. Unfortunately, many of the most vulnerable cities and townships, do not have it, which also has been a challenge to in the efforts to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, which requires the continuous habit of washing hands.
It is important to note that the preservation of water is not a matter that is government’s responsibility only, but each and every person in the country must play their part. As we close off the month of March, it is important for all citizens, young and old, to make a commitment to safeguard and conserve water resources in the country, not only for us to continue to live but also thrive during this critical period. It is easy to avoid this responsibility but we cannot avoid the consequences of our actions that will have an impact for generations to come.
According to the Helen Suzman Foundation, it is apparent that observed water scarcity in South Africa is aggravated by the effect of global climate change, climate changeability and increasing requests on available water resources. Although some of these factors are beyond human control, we have a responsibility to modify lifestyles that will heighten the preservation of water and its quality for future generations. Water conservation needs to be a part of our lives, and not just something we think and talk about only when there is a threat of it becoming scarce. We all need to understand the magnitude of this issue and work together to protect this precious resource. The question in this case is what are you going to do to play your part and preserve water?