Water quality issues get the nod, sort of

19 January 2011

A very positive sign for water resource management is contained in a statement by the Minister of Water Affairs and Environment, contained in the January 2011 edition of the IMIESA journal. Less heartening, however, is that the statement was submitted by the previous minister -since replaced by Minister Edna Molewa!  IMIESA ???

In the article the Minister acknowledges that water quantity and water quality are inextricably linked.  This is a rare admission but it does show that people are starting to listen to the appeals for attention to issues of quality (see elsewhere on this blog).

While not going on to specifically address water quality, the article points out that there needs to be a greater public awareness around the profile of water and that there needs to be better management (protection) of water resources in terms of controlling pollution at source.  The article emphasizes that there will be an increasing need, accelerated by climate change, to focus on adaptation (to reduced water availability), as opposed to mitigation.  She did not point out that it is impossible to adapt to poor water quality ands that degraded water quality, in effect, reduces the available quantity still further.  Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!

I cannot presume to understand the intricacies of national and provincial management, so I cannot comment on the stated need for political representation at provincial level in order to give effect to water resource management.  My take on this is that we now, more than ever, need a professional civil service that is minimally buffeted by political interference.  Let those who can, do!

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