GOVERNMENT, through the Water Affairs Ministry belatedly commemorated World Water Day in Maseru with a call to increase the recycling of waste water for the benefit of humans and the environment.
World Water Day is officially commemorated by United Nations Organisation (UNO) member states on 22 March every year and the 2017 theme is Water and Waste Water.
The Minister of Water Affairs, Kimetso Mathaba said World Water Day was about taking action on water issues focusing on the use and re-use of water.
He said that approximately 1.8 billion out of an estimated seven billion world population obtained their water from contaminated sources “causing illnesses such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid and other related illnesses”.
“We also need to note that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 6 states that by 2030, everyone must have access to clean water.
“However, we have several challenges including the frightening challenge of 80 percent of the waste water used by society which flows back to the ecosystems resulting in 842 000 deaths each year.”
Mr Mathaba said it was government’s hope that the commemoration would go beyond being a mere talk shop and translate into a clarion call to save the country’s water sources.
For her part, Nthati Toae, a hydro-biologist in the Department of Water Affairs said commemoration was meant to inspire people around the world to learn more about water-related issues, tell others and take action to make a difference, particularly in developing countries
“Globally, the vast majority of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back into nature without being treated or reused – polluting the environment and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials,” Ms Toae said.
“By exploiting this valuable resource, we will make the water cycle work better for every living thing.
“And we will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse.”
Ms Toae said water quality guidelines and standards set the limits beyond which water was not usable, adding that a water body has a way of cleansing itself up to a certain extent.
“If wastewater is too concentrated, it may be beyond the water body assimilation capacity,” she said.