OPINION PIECE The youth and water resources management

Water is the panacea of life and also a gossamer that links growth of all living organisms. It plays a pivotal role in the growth of any economy hence some analysts predict that the third world war would be about water. The scarcity of this vital commodity affects more that 40% of the global population.

Most water scientists caution that Africa’s water supply is becoming more and more uncertain. They predict that by 2025 the results of population growth and climate change might result in half of all African countries experiencing “water stress”.

And, according to the World Bank, water-related disasters account for 70% of all death associated with natural disasters. The most important thing for all countries to embark on is to strengthen their integrated water resources management.

And, that is where the role of society, governments and experts alike play an important role in educating and involving the youth about this important phenomenon with the aim of preserving and managing our water resources.

As South Africa celebrates the Youth Month, albeit the Youth Day on June 16 of each year – the big question is: Is our youth taking up the challenge of involving themselves with water-saving and preservation activities?

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has implemented such water-awareness creation programmes such as the Baswa Le Meetse – Youth in Water – and the Youth Summit among others.

Baswa Le Meetse (Youth in Water) Award is a Ministerial Project under the curatorship of Director: Transformation, Mr Curtis Mavula Mabena – which was launched in 2003. It is one of the action projects of 2020 Vision for Water Education Programme (2020VFWEP). The awards aim to recognise the role of youth in education and awareness campaigns on integrated water management, sanitation, impact of invasive alien plants and health and hygiene promotion issues.

Baswa Le Meetse project targets grade six (6) learners, who convey sound messages on water use efficiency, water conservation, and water resources protection, impact of invasive alien plants and health and hygiene. They use art as a medium to communicate messages.

 

This is done through five different art forms such as drama, music, poetry, praise poetry and posters. Learners align their messages with the theme “Washing of hands, use and care of sanitation facilities for a healthy life.”

 

We are all aware that today, most countries are placing unprecedented pressure on water resources. South Africa is not immune to changing weather patterns (global warming phenomenon) and our water resources are fast diminishing or wasted. The global population is growing fast, and estimates show that with current practices, the world will face a 40% shortfall between forecast demand and available supply of water by 2030. Furthermore, chronic water scarcity, hydrological uncertainty, and extreme weather events (floods and droughts) are perceived as some of the biggest threats to global prosperity and stability. Acknowledgment of the role that water scarcity and drought are playing in aggravating fragility and conflict is increasing.

Baswa le Meetse competitions require a holistic and integrated approach. The key objective of the guideline document is to assist educators as they prepare learners for the district auditions, provincial and national competitions and national awards (to be held during the Youth Summit). The guideline serves as a frame of reference which guides the adjudication panels to ensure a fair selection of the winners and the implementing team to co-ordinate the project effectively.

 

Feeding 9 billion people by 2050 will require a 60% increase in agricultural production, (which consumes 70% of the resource today), and a 15% increase in water withdrawals. Besides this increasing demand, the resource is already scarce in many parts of the world. Estimates indicate that 40% of the world population lives in water scarce areas, and approximately ¼ of world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is exposed to this challenge. By 2025, about 1.8 billion people will be living in regions or countries with absolute water scarcity. Water security is a major – and often growing –challenge for many countries today.

 

The fragmentation of this resource also constrains water security. There are 276 trans-boundary basins, shared by 148 countries, which account for 60% of the global freshwater flow. Similarly, 300 aquifers systems are trans-boundary in nature, meaning 2 billion people worldwide are dependent on groundwater. The challenges of fragmentation are often replicated at the national scale, meaning cooperation in the form of involving the youth is needed to achieve optimal water resources management and development solutions for all riparian’s. To deal with these complex and interlinked water challenges, countries will need to improve the way they manage their water resources and associated services.

To strengthen water security against this backdrop of increasing demand, water scarcity, growing uncertainty, greater extremes, and fragmentation challenges, countries will need to invest in the youth to maximise the institutional strengthening, information management, and (natural and man-made) infrastructure development. Institutional tools such as legal and regulatory frameworks, water pricing, and incentives are needed to better allocate, regulate, and conserve water resources. Information systems are needed for resource monitoring, decision making under uncertainty, systems analyses, and hydro-meteorological forecast and warning.

Also, countries need investments in innovative technologies for enhancing productivity, conserving and protecting resources, recycling storm water and wastewater, and developing non-conventional water sources should be explored in addition to seeking opportunities for enhanced water storage, including aquifer recharge and recovery.

Ensuring the rapid dissemination and appropriate adaptation or application of these advances will be a key to strengthening global water security.

And, bringing the youth into the centre stage is the only solution. Train them while they are young to reap good rewards later.

They are the leaders of tomorrow.

Ike Motsapi

 

Thapelo Motseo

COMPANY BACKGROUND Sekhukhune Times was founded in 2015 for the purpose of providing Sekhukhune community and businesses with quality news. The business is operated within the Sekhukhune district municipality which consist of four municipality namely Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality, Ephraim Mogale Local Municipality, Makhuduthamaga Local Municipality and Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality . Sekhukhune Times help the readers to become aware of their surroundings from social life, to the news happening in the community and also not forgetting what’s happening on the outside world’ it brings you all the news in a convenient and simple language that community can understand and It is released every Thursday and distributed through various mine, shops, , pubiic institutions and in schools. Complimentary copies are distributed to advertisers. The publication is also available online www.sekhukhunetimes.co.za Sekhukhune Times bring you all the news you need to know about the community, events coming up, speeches and also some tips on surviving student life as well as anything which you feel could be beneficial to students voicing out their opinions. MISSION . To became a cross border publication that will link young people from all corners of the world. . To became a source of information to the youth and community in general. .To became a tool for businesses big and small to market their products. .To serve as a communication tool for businesses, government, school and communities in general. .To offer jobs to young people and thus participate in eradicating unemployment, which is a major contributor to increase in crime, AIDS and poverty in our communities. .Provide auxiliary services such as printing, layout and design and photography for other institutions. . Sekhukhune Times is committed to providing the client with a quality product at competitive price within schedule. . At all time we will address and service the customers, requirements, comply with specifications, standards and technical requirements, act ethically and with dignity

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