There is a need for joint planning in order to ensure sustainable water availability to meet projected socioeconomic demands, a senior Rwandan official has said.
Speaking at a virtual event convened Monday to mark World Water Day which falls on March 22, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Rwanda’s minister of Environment, said joint planning to promote multipurpose dam and rainwater harvesting would ensure sustainable water availability to meet projected socioeconomic demands, and adapt to climate change impacts.
Economic development and a growing national population mean agriculture, household and industry are getting thirstier and water-intensive energy generation is rising to meet demand, Mujawamariya said, adding that climate change is making water more erratic and contributing to water-related disasters.
“As we balance demands on water resources, many people’s interests are not being taken into account. The value of water is about much more than its price — water has enormous and complex value for our households, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment,” she said, noting water resources will have a significant impact on achieving projected national gross domestic project (GDP) toward Vision 2050.
The international theme for World Water Day 2022 is “Groundwater — Making the Invisible Visible.”
The minister highlighted the value of groundwater which she said is to become more and more critical as climate change gets worse.
“We need to work together to sustainably manage this precious resource. Catchment management practices enhance groundwater recharge, while mitigating soil erosion and floods. Groundwater may be out of sight, but it must not be out of mind,” she said.
In Rwanda, the Day was jointly marked with International Forest Day which is observed on March 21 and World Meteorological Day which falls on March 23, with several activities lined up to run from March 21 to March 26. These include raising awareness of the need to protect groundwater, water resources and forests, the impacts of climate change and how early warning systems and early actions are needed to cope with disasters.
A UN report released Monday in line with this year’s World Water Day said “levels of water security in Africa overall are unacceptably low.”
The report, titled “Water Security in Africa: A preliminary Assessment,” which covers 54 African countries, evaluated 10 indicators and concluded that about 500 million people spread across 19 countries in the continent are water-stressed. Enditem