Wa­ter aids econ­omy

Cape Times - - OPINION - Malusi Rayi Com­mu­ni­ca­tions: Depart­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion (West­ern Cape)

THE news that South Africa has moved out of re­ces­sion is to be wel­comed.

The re­port by Statis­tics South Africa sug­gests that this trend is at­trib­uted to growth of pri­mary sec­tors in­clud­ing agri­cul­ture dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter.

Wa­ter as a strate­gic re­source has a po­ten­tial to cre­ate jobs when used in a sus­tain­able man­ner.

The em­ploy­ment from wa­ter would con­sist of direct jobs in in­dus­tries, agri­cul­ture and the tourism sec­tor.

The agri­cul­ture sec­tor alone em­ploys around 700 000 work­ers, mak­ing it one of the big­gest em­ploy­ers in the econ­omy.

This is a sec­tor that uses al­most 60% wa­ter in ir­ri­ga­tion and other ac­tiv­i­ties.

Tourism is one of the sec­tors that ac­counts for fresh­wa­ter con­sump­tion.

While this sec­tor con­sumes con­sid­er­ably less wa­ter as com­pared to other sec­tors such as agri­cul­ture, it cre­ates sig­nif­i­cant job op­por­tu­ni­ties and can­not op­er­ate with­out wa­ter.

For decades wa­ter has been in­stru­men­tal in job cre­ation.

Work­ing for Wa­ter pro­gramme, South Africa’s largest public-funded project to erad­i­cate in­va­sive alien plants and im­prove wa­ter re­sources in the world, has cre­ated over 180 000 full­time jobs over the past two decades.

Given the pre­vail­ing drought in the West­ern Cape and the role of wa­ter in job cre­ation, we ap­peal to all sec­tors to con­serve wa­ter re­sources as this will save jobs and stim­u­late eco­nomic growth.

“Wa­ter is life, san­i­ta­tion is dig­nity.”

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