Swaziland Commemorates World Water Day 2017

Oct 11, 2017

Stakeholders in the water sector came together to commemorate World Water Day 2017

Waste Water is Water. Save it. World Water Day is commemorated world over each year on March 22nd, since 1993. The United Nations created this calendar day to magnify the international focus on water related issues and to inspire people and organizations to act to make a positive difference in the lives of others. The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key issue in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty. Under the theme “Waste Water”, commemoration of this day was held with different stakeholders working together to support the Government of Swaziland, though the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy, Department of Water Affairs. These included the United Nations Swaziland (UNICEF and UNDP), Swaziland Water Services Corporation (SWSC), Swaziland Water Development Enterprise (SWADE), Water Aid Swaziland, River Basin Authorities and KOBWA. The commemoration was held on March 30, instead of March 22, 2017. It involved a site visit to a SWSC Waste Water Treatment Plant at Ezulwini, attended by Minister of Natural Resources and Energy, Senator Jabulile Mashwama. Worth noting is that the minister was fresh from attending the Water Indaba in Durban, on invite by her counterpart in South Africa. The walk was preceded by a Waste Water Symposium where topics such as Waste Water and Climate Change Adaptation (UNDP), Water Quality Management in Swaziland (DWA), Waste Water Recycling and Re-Use (SWSC), Waste Water Legislation and Policy Frameworks (SEA), Water Governance in Swaziland (DWA) as well as Water Demand Management: A Transboundary Approach (KOBWA) were presented. One of the key messages from the presenters was how everyone can contribute to saving water, even waste water, emphasising that waste water is also water that needs to be conserved, a message also pronounced by the Minister. Other topics covered include Water Quality Management in Swaziland, Waste Water Recycling and Re-Use, Waste Water Legislation and Policy Frameworks, Water Governance in Swaziland, as well as Water Demand Management: A Transboundary Approach. The commemoration of this day comes after most parts of the Southern African Region experienced one of the longest dry periods in memory, where a better part of the population, in both rural and urban areas, faced acute food and water shortages. Rivers and dams were at record low levels leading to water rationing across the country, even in the capital, Mbabane, in residences and town centers. As the situation worsened, the Government of Swaziland declared the ElNino induced drought a national state of emergency and crisis, calling on various stakeholders and partners to offer any kind of aid to the severely hit communities, mostly in the dry- Lowveld part of the country covering Lubombo and Shiselweni regions.

UNDP Program Specialist

Sithembiso Hlatshwako, Programme Specialist

Email: sithembiso.hlatshwako@undp.org