Having access to clean water is not only a basic human right but is also essential for a healthy life. Yet, too many households, especially in our country, are without adequate water and sanitation facilities. Interestingly, South Africa has one of the cleanest water systems in the world. However, due to a lack of sanitation in our rural areas, the threat of water resources contamination and subsequent waterborne diseases is increasing. With more and more people migrating from the rural areas into our cities, the pressure for these cities to meet the growing water supply and sewage treatment demands is also rapidly growing.

Covid-19 and water

Added to the issue, is the recent Covid-19 pandemic. While we all know that the best opportunity we have of protecting ourselves and others against the spread of Covid-19 is frequent sanitising and washing of hands using soap and water, this is easier said than done when many of our people do not even have access to clean, running water, let alone suitable sanitation facilities. Lockdown and travel restrictions brought industry to a standstill, and because utilities rely on commercial and industrial customers to pay for water, cost saving measures have further added to the problem.

Water and the environment

The natural environment around us, as well as the preservation of important natural assets depend greatly on adequate sanitation systems being in place. Climate change has affected water supplies; rains that usually supply the country’s water has come infrequently in certain areas, and this has had an impact on the water supply. The Vaal River, part of South Africa’s largest river system and a popular tourist attraction, is becoming increasingly contaminated due to the lack of purification facilities of water sources draining into the system. Both humans as well as wildlife are greatly affected by sewage run off into the river systems.

World toilet day

This important day, held each year on the 19th November, highlights the effects of poor sanitation on people, communities, and the world at large. It is a reminder to authorities across the globe to prioritise sanitation so that every person can have access to clean and safe sanitation facilities.

While water-borne sanitation depends much on water supply, our water resources are also affected by poor sanitation and inadequate sewage treatment. Our country’s water supply is in crisis and in dire need of urgent intervention. From government to developmental partners, water utilities and the public in general – we need more education and awareness campaigns to promote the importance of water preservation and clean water supply.

Letsolo Water and Environmental Service is passionate about preserving our country’s natural resources for future generations to come. Please visit our website for more information: https://lwes.co.za

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