Valuing Water through conservation as World marks the 2021Water Day

Valuing Water through conservation as World marks the 2021Water Day


Every year, the world celebrates World Water Day on 22 March, as a mean of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Water plays an integral role in the existence of humans, plants as well as animals. It serves many purposes and deprivation of it means existence probably would cease. Despite water being an important resource, it’s harnessing and conservation has not been put into considerations by many people.

United Nations is the convener for World Water Day and selects the theme for each year in consultation with UN organizations that shares an interest in that year’s focus. The theme for 2021 is “Valuing Water” and the public campaign invited people to join a global conversation on online platforms to “tell stories, thoughts and feelings about water”.

World Water Day provides an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, and take action to make a difference. Water is an essential building block of life. It is more than just essential to quench thirst or protect health; water is vital for creating jobs, supporting economic, social, and human development. In 2020, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, there was an additional focus on hand washing and hygiene.

According to Engineer Jayateerth Karjagi (JT), of Majitec, the Government through the Ministry of Health during the Covid pandemic initiated projects to ensure that all schools and local communities had access to water for hand hygiene culture.

Engineer Jayateerth Karjagi (JT), of Majitec,

Globally, 785 million people do not have access to basic drinking water. Those who have access to water, the water does not meet their basic needs. Equally, water is often contaminated by urban, industrial, and agricultural pollutants that can compromise non-piped water systems.

Increasing sustainable access to safe drinking water is a key objective. In support of the water strategy, USAID in conjunction with UN is seeking to provide 15 million people with sustainable access to drinking waters by 2022.

Some of those who lack access to basic water live in conflict affected regions with weak institutions of governance, insecure tenure and high rates of poverty. In countries with a history of conflict and civil unrest, the impact of refugees has further deteriorated the condition of water supply services.

It’s quite baffling that in times of heavy rains, floods are experienced, roads are submerged, houses are flooded and a lot of catastrophes are brought about by the same water. In contrast during the dry periods, famine and pangs of hunger ravages the country which would not have been the case had the water been harnessed and conserved accordingly. Kenya’s economy being driven by agriculture, water plays a pivotal role in driving this sector. Lack of it causes food shortage as a result of crops not thriving well in the farms. The main point we are driving is for people to harvest water for use in consumption and to promote food production.

With increasing population worldwide, there is increasing pressure on this resource. Collecting rainwater for later use or diverting it so that it does not become waste water is a very effective and easy way to conserve water.

Several strategies for harvesting rainwater are available, ranging from simple to extensive. Diverting the downspout from roof into storage or to a garden is the simplest way of harvesting rainwater. This involves collecting the rainwater from the house roof. Typically this water would be collected in the roof gutter and run into the storm water system via a downspout. The downspout normally directs water to an easy run-off pathway such as a driveway from which it runs into the storm water system. When the system overflows, diverting the spout onto the lawn or garden prevents this water from running away unused. The disadvantage against the practice is that the water is often contaminated along the way.

In crop production water harvesting is very important and is categorized into micro and macro catchments systems. In micro-catchment system, runoff water is harvested from short slope catchments within field catchments. This system includes techniques such v-shaped bunds, contour bunds, and contour ridges.

Runoff is where water is not absorbed by the soil but runs across the surface away from where the crop can use it. Structures such as contour schemes, terracing, pits and bunds can reduce run-off. Runoff is more likely to occur on silty or clay soils where the surface has been subjected to intense rainfall then baked in the sun to form a crust or cap. Adding mulch to break up the intensity of rainfall, or adding manure, compost or incorporating green manure residues reduce the tendency of the soil forming a crust.

Experts are vouching for water harvesting techniques as the sure way to saving the country from acute water shortage. But even as the rain pours, the country is beset with warnings that as soon as the rain stops we shall return to water shortages. The problem according to the United Nations Environment Programme, (UNEP) is not the rain, but the water waste. If the country harvested the rainfall, we would have plenty of water, and water harvesting isn’t that expensive.

“People should innovative in terms of water harvesting during rainy season. This should be part of Moral education in academia for children to better understand importance of water conservation. Every household and community should harvest rain by using gutters or pipe line in their housing estates,” JT said.

Water is precious and we all are responsible for conserving and preserving for our next generation. As the time goes by, water will become major source of future conflicts around the world looking at the scarcity. All the existing water bodies, catchment areas should be preserved; deforestation being the major challenge experienced. Efforts should be made to interlink major rivers to avoid fresh water getting into the sea and also to minimize draught and flooding we experience every now and then across the entire continent.

“Government should bring strict measures for any new development, to have rain harvesting or STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) and ETP (Effluent Treatment Plant) plants for water recycling; there should not be use of fresh water for car cleaning and gardening, recycled water should be the one used for toilet flushing,” JT confided.

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