Port Elizabeth - Newly appointed Minister of Environment and Water Affairs, Buyelwa Sonjica has urged South Africans to use water wisely and consider it as an essential source for sustainable development.
Speaking at the Drinking Water Quality Conference in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, Minister Sonjica said water was central for the achievement of the country's economic and social development objectives, as well as the nurturing of the ecosystems.
"With South Africa being a water scarce country, it is critical that we do all in our power to ensure that we use water wisely for the current and future generations," she said, adding that this remained a challenge among all citizens.
"We have to raise awareness to all strata of our society, especially through the school children and programmes through the learning institutions," she said.
Although she acknowledged the existing challenges in the water sector, she said she was confident that her department was up to the challenge.
The minister said she was willingly to work with all stakeholders to ensure the distribution of quality water is achieved, adding that she intended to build on the foundation set by former Minister Lindiwe Hendricks.
Minister Sonjica further assured South Africans that their drinking water was safe, and there was no need to be anxious.
"The vast majority of South African people cannot afford bottled water and depend on us to continue providing them with safe tap water.
"We cannot and shall not fail their trust in us. The question our more affluent citizens should ask themselves is: is it necessary to depend on bottled water when we do receive world-class water from our taps?"