Municipalities need to work with the Department of Water and Sanitation and water entities to ensure efficient government supply systems, said Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister David Mahlobo at the inaugural Municipal Water Services Scientific Forum held at the Athlone Wastewater Treatment Works, in Cape Town.
“It is my hope that the activities of this forum will contribute significantly to building a more sustainable water future and influence the local government to become part of this vision,” he said in his keynote address on September 19.
This first-of-its-kind municipal forum was launched by South African Local Government Association (Salga) in collaboration with the City of Cape Town.
“The primary purpose of the forum is to provide strategic direction and leadership to the country’s municipal scientific community to develop intuitive scientific leadership to develop intuitive scientific leaders,” said Salga in a media statement released the day before the forum.
The forum will serve as a platform for knowledge sharing of scientific challenges, cutting-edge research and development and best practices in the management of water and effluent quality, among others.
The event, attended primarily by municipal scientists, water services officials, sector departments and government leaders, aspires to contribute towards the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whereby everyone has safe water to drink by 2030.
Secondly, the SDGs aim to improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and reducing the release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing the recycling and safe reuse of water globally.
“Over the years, water and sanitation scientists have been exploring means and ways of ensuring our water and effluent quality does not pose any health risks to society through a number of ways such as technological innovation, including research and new testing methodologies. This has contributed significantly to South Africa’s water quality recognition and status in the world,” said Salga.