Promoting water use efficiency and water quality management is taking centre stage at the annual Youth Water and Sanitation Summit currently underway in Boksburg.
The four-day summit, which started on Monday, is being attended by youths who are still in school, youngsters who have completed school and young people working in the water and sanitation profession from the nine provinces.
The summit will expose these youths to various programs and activities that will further enhance their knowledge and interest in water and sanitation related careers.
During the summit, young people will participate in educational excursions, lectures, career expos, public speaking through youth debates, exhibitions and competitions.
The week-long programme will culminate in an awards ceremony to acknowledge excellence in teaching and learning on issues of water and sanitation.
The youths who have completed their schooling and the young professionals from all the nine provinces will be crafting plans to assist learners address the water and sanitation challenges facing their schools.
The winning plan will be tabled to Deputy Minister for Water and Sanitation, Pamela Tshwete, during a gala dinner on Wednesday.
In her opening remarks on Monday, Deputy Minister Tshwete said the summit was a meeting of young South Africans who have recognised that South Africa is a water scarce country and the sanitation provision levels are not adequate.
“These young people have taken it upon themselves to work towards conservation of nature and reduce the most pressing threats to diversity of life on earth. Their journey in life is about security of fresh water for people and animals,” the Deputy Minister said.
She said Department of Water and Sanitation, working with business, including the Department of Basic Education, Department of Higher Education, Department of Arts and Culture and many water supporting institutions, is implementing a school-based education programme called 2020 vision for water and sanitation.
The programme is a strategic programme aimed at educating youth in schools about water resource management, sanitation health and hygiene, and also promote careers in the water and sanitation sector.
“Through this programme we instil values of water conservation, general hygienic and care of the environment.
“Young people are able to identify water and sanitation related challenges in their communities, conduct comprehensive research, make recommendations and develop interventions to address challenges,” Deputy Minister Tshwete said.