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SADC advocates for increased investment in water resources

Throughout 2015, SADC will launch national water weeks in each of its 15 member states and so far it has hosted them in 5 member states been Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Botswana.

The national water weeks will provide an opportunity for country focused awareness raising of the SADC regional water programmes and River Basin Organizations' initiatives towards the goal of improving water resources management and development and the need for harmonization of national and local strategies with SADC regional strategies for better water resources management and development.

This was revealed on Tuesday at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) National Water week media training forum held at Cresta President Hotel, Gaborone.

The Director of Inter Press Service (IPS) Africa, Kudzai Makombe said, "This media training forms part of efforts to communicate the SADC fourth regional strategic action plan (RSAP) for integrated water resources management during the national water week, which will include a National Consultative Forum."

She noted that the training is aimed at preparing journalists to cover water issues at local, national and regional level from a factual and analytical basis; to raise awareness and understanding of integrated water resource management; and to engage with and report effectively on issues that will emerge from National Consultative Forum and beyond.

Makombe noted that for many people, access to water is a matter of daily survival and, with growing populations and growing economics, limited access to quality water resources can result in conflict, saying that improved water governance is therefore critical to reducing poverty and preventing conflict.

"A sustainable, safe water source and benefiting from its economic opportunity can help break the circle of poverty," added Makombe.

Makombe said that water governance addresses among other things; principles such as equity and efficiency in water resource and services allocation and distribution, water administration based on catchments, the need for integrated water management approaches and the need to balance water use between socio-economic activities and ecosystems; the formulation, establishment and implementation of water policies, legislation and institutions; and also the clarification of the roles of government, civil society and the private sector and their responsibilities regarding ownership, management and administration of water resources and services, for example: stakeholder participation and conflict resolution, water quantity and quality standards.

She mentioned that water management requires water infrastructure and water infrastructure requires the development of sound institution with great attention to the environment and equitable sharing of benefits and costs.

The SADC National Water week was hosted by the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, in collaboration with the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWR-SA), Botswana Water Partnership, Kalahari Conservation Society and Inter Press Service (IPS) Africa.

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