World Water Day: Greenpeace demands more commitment to defend South African people’s right to water

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The spotlight on water is at the heart of all conversations in South Africa with questions mainly being raised around sustainable water management, government’s role in the securing access of clean water for all citizens

 This year, South Africa will observe World Water Week under the ominous cloud of the Cape Town water crisis, and the stark reality of long-term water scarcity in South Africa and beyond our borders. The spotlight on water is at the heart of all conversations in South Africa with questions mainly being raised around sustainable water management, government’s role in the securing access of clean water for all citizens, and the future we face with alarming rates of drought and other weather extremes around the world.

On the occasion of World Water Day, Greenpeace Africa’s (www.Greenpeace.org/africa) Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager, Melita Steele has said,

“Day Zero is a sign of the times. Millions of South Africans live with Day Zero every day, because they don’t have access to water. Water scarcity is a massive problem, and it is not going to go away. Greenpeace believes that the 2002 UNESCO General Comment [3] that ‘the human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realisation of other rights’ goes to the heart of the matter.

“The days of mega water users like Eskom and coal mines having unlimited access to water at the expense of the people of South Africa must be over. We must change the narrative around water, and we must defend our right to water at all costs.

“The fact of the matter is that the water story in South Africa is not a good one. Our Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation has for all intents and purposes collapsed. Demand is going to exceed supply in the long term, and it will be difficult to close the gap. All government departments, including but not limited to the Department of Water and Sanitation, must put water at the centre of decision making, and must firmly prioritise water for people over business and profits”.

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