SA moves to save its rivers

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pretoria - South Africa is faced with a huge challenge that is likely to become a future threat if our water resources are not well managed, says Water and Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi.

Mabudafhasi, who on Monday embarked on the Adopt-a-River door-to-door campaign in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch, said because South Africa was a water scarce country, the department had a responsibility to ensure there was enough water for socio- economic growth and development. 

The Adopt-a-River campaign is part of National Water Week Celebrations.

"If the department does not manage and control pollution and waste water, we are likely not to meet our future human needs," said the deputy minister.

Formally launched by Mabudafhasi last year, the Adopt-a-River project is an initiative of the Water Affairs Department that aims to encourage the public to take charge of river systems in their areas, fight and prevent pollution. 

The project is also part of the River Health Programme, a nationwide monitoring system assessing the health of rivers. 

Mabudafhasi revisited the Eerste River catchment in Kayamandi one year after the project was launched, where she had called on the public to be involved in campaigns such as Adopt-a-River. This is aimed at sensitising people to care for rivers and educate the youth on how to look after this natural resource in their areas.

Mabudafhasi acknowledged the good and hard work of community members in Eerste River, noting that they continued to care for natural resources despite the challenges they faced daily. 

A group of 50 unemployed local people, mainly women and youth from the Stellenbosch Municipality, is currently being trained in basic river monitoring and rehabilitation in order for them to help with such projects. 

They will be participating in cleaning, monitoring and rehabilitation projects in the different stretches of the river.

This year's Water Week is observed under the theme 'Water as a human right issue.'