Wednesday December 13, 2017
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THE HONOURABLE MINISTER’S REMARKS
DURING THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE 2017 WORLD WATER DAY COMMEMORATION

SIBANE HOTEL – EZULWINI

 


Director of Ceremonies,
Representative of the Regional Administrator – Hhohho Region
Members of the Ministry’s Portfolio Committee from both house of Parliament
Representatives of the Ezulwini Umphakatsi
Representative our UN Agencies
WaterAid Country representative
Captains of Industry
Chief Executive Officers from Government Parastatals
Representatives from our academic Institutions
Members of the National Authority
Representatives of the different River Basin Authorities
Senior Government Officials
Representatives of the Swaziland Youth Forum
Teachers and students from Somnjalose High School
Representatives of the different media Houses
 Distinguished Guests Ladies and Gentlemen


GREETINGS
Special greetings to you all;

It gives me great pleasure to be standing before you on this day to celebrate this year’s World Water Day under the theme “Waste Water”. This day is celebrated annually to commemorate the importance of water in our daily lives. It is a known fact that water is the basis of life; at least 70% of our bodies is composed of water, the food we eat is produced using water, our economies are highly dependent of water and this is just but a few of the many activities that depend on water.

IMPORTANCE OF WORLD WATER DAY
This day provides a platform where we gather to develop strategies to tackle the water crisis that is facing the world. Today we have 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to their homes and these people spend countless hours traveling to the nearest water source. The theme for this year’s Water Day celebrations is addressing Sustainable Development Goal 6.3 which talks to improving water quality and reducing, treating and reusing waste water.
In the year 1993 the United Nation declared the 22nd of March as the day on which the whole world celebrates the water day under a Theme chosen for that particular year. Our celebration today is under the theme “Waste Water”. The question we need to ask ourselves is why do we talk about waste water as this is viewed as a resource that is no longer available for use. It is reported in literature that about 60% of the water that we use in our homes is disposed as grey water (waste water). This is water produced after bathing, washing dishes, washing clothes and cleaning our houses but does not include water that is used for flushing our toilets. An average home in an urban setting consumes about 900 litres per day and produce about 540 litres as grey water per day. In a week this amounts to 3,780 litres of water and the number becomes pronounced if calculated for a month and for a number of families. This is a resource whose production has attracted a lot of costs yet is easily thrown back as waste. Rather than letting this water literally go down the drain, this precious commodity has to be reused, recycled and used as efficiently as possible. Indeed we need to invest in technologies to ensure that this water is put back to beneficial use to counter observed effects brought by the scourge of climate change.

 RELEVENCE TO THE COUNTRY
Our country has just recovered from a very devastating drought which seriously affected our economy. We witnessed loss of livestock, our crops were not spared and our people had no water to support their livelihoods. We need to develop strategies to prevent a repeat of the same scenario in future. It is through gatherings like this one that we get the opportunity to share ideas with sector players on what the country needs to do to be water secure.
His Majesty’s government continues to prioritise the provision of water to the nation. In the new financial year resources have been allocated to ensure that our Ministry continues to develop projects to avail water to the nation. As we begin the New Year the Ministry will be handing over the SISOMA water scheme which will benefit a total of 61,000 people in the Siphofaneni, Lavumisa and Somntongo areas. We will also unveil the Mfishane and Lugedzeni rural water supply project to benefit 359 households under the Kaphunga Inkhundla. Furthermore the Ministry will also launch the Ngoleni and Bekezela water schemes to benefit 438 households under the Shiselweni 1 Inkhundla. These are efforts undertaken by the Ministry to ensure that the country achieves the national vision of 100% potable water coverage to all by the year 2022.  The Ministry appreciates the good working relationship that exists between our sector players as some of the above mentioned projects have been implemented through joint collaboration with our partners. In this same year the Ministry will also witness the official opening of our state of the art water treatment facility in Matsapha. This is the biggest facility in the country and will treat waste water in Manzini and Ezulwini areas.
The Kingdom of Eswatini has taken strides towards reclaiming of waste water produces by our homes and industrial activities. The country currently has three major water treatment plants which the government has constructed through the Swaziland Water Services Corporation to treat waste water from our cities. Currently the waste water treatment plant at Matsapha is being commissioned and will come on-stream very soon. The other two plants are at Nhlambeni and Ezulwini. These plants are strategically located to treat waste water from our major cities which have a lot of industrial activities. The average discharge of waste water produced from these plants in a year amounts to about 10 million cubic metres. This is a significant amount of water which is discharged into our river systems and is subjected to natural dilution and becomes available to downstream users. Efforts are underway to ensure that this water is treated to a level where it can be taken back into the system to benefit the areas where it has been produced.

We note that other countries like Israel reclaim about 87% of their waste water and use it in irrigation. We believe this is also possible for Swaziland.
The Ministry appreciates the efforts by the private sector which has invested in technologies to treat waste water to levels where it is currently reused especially to water gardens, lawns and to wash cars. This is greatly encouraged and should be copied by all.  

IMPACT FROM INDUSTRIALISATION INITIATIVE
As the country gears towards industrialisation as pronounced by the SADC Heads of States; we need to guide against degradation of our water bodies. It is known that industrial activities use a lot of water which in turn is returned to rivers as waste. The Ministry through the Department of Water Affairs continues to monitor the quality of the water that is returned back to water bodies. We have continued to issue and monitor effluent discharge permits to ensure that the water that is returned to receiving water bodies is of the acceptable quality. We once again encourage industries to invest in technologies to treat their waste water before they are discharged into rivers to sustain the integrity of our aquatic life and reduce investments on chemicals to treat the water for the next user.

POLICY DIRECTION
As we finalise our national water Policy we need to ensure that pronouncements on the re-use of waste water are in cooperated and are monitored through legislation. This will help to develop good national habits and will avail a significant amount of water back into the system.
 CONCLUDING REMARKS
In conclusion may I take this opportunity to thank you all for having devoted time to be part of this important gathering. I strongly believe that through the deliberations that will follow you will be able to share ideas and develop strategies on how the country needs better manage the water that we produce as waste. May I also take this opportunity to thank all our partners who have contributed towards the success of this event. Special thanks goes to the following institutions: KOBWA, SWSC, Department of Water Affairs, WaterAid, UNDP, UNICEF, RSSC, SWADE, River Basin Authorities, the Royal Swaziland Police and Somnjalose High School.
Special appreciation also goes to the organising committee which has spent sleepless nights to ensure this day became a reality.

With these remarks may I now declare the 2017 World Water Day Celebrations officially open.

Thank you all for your attention

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