Date of Issue: 22 March 2022
is the World Water Day which is running under the theme, ‘Groundwater–making the invisible visible.’ We
commemorate the day while raising awareness of the 2 billion people
living without access to safe water. Now
more than ever, we need to take action to tackle the global water crisis whose scarcity is the
biggest economic and societal risk. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Access to clean water is
a basic right that is important for the survival of humanity, yet it can be one
of the hardest resources to attain. Zimbabwe has not been spared from the water
crisis which has affected people’s rights to water and sanitation as well as
other related rights, including the rights to life, food, and
health. Under Section 77 of Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution, “Every
person has the right to safe, clean, and potable water.” The Government is obligated
to take reasonable legislative and other measures, within the limits of
available resources, to achieve the progressive realization of the right to
water. Zimbabwe is also a party to regional and international human rights
treaties that recognize the right to water and sanitation.
However, it is saddening
to note that poor service delivery by local government authorities is emerging
as a major threat to the right to water. As we commemorate the day, we also take
time to remind the Authorities of their obligations to improve service
delivery, reduce corruption including developing and enforcing transparency and
accountability measures regarding the allocation of finances and
citizens while being encouraged to pay for the services will only do so if
these are religiously rendered.
In addition, water plays
an important role in ensuring equitable, sustainable, and productive rural
economies. Fifty-three of the Sustainable Development Goals 169 targets have a
link to groundwater. For instance, SDG target 2.4 on sustainable food
production systems and resilient agricultural practices relies on the
availability of ground water. Good groundwater management is needed to achieve
SDG target 6.6 to protect and restore water-related ecosystems.
As climate change
worsens, groundwater found underground in aquifers, sands, and gravels will
become more critical. Demand for water will continue to increase, and it
has been estimated that by 2030 nearly half of the population will live in
areas of high-water stress, which will result in the displacement of
populations. Now is an opportune time for technological development, to create
jobs in the operation and maintenance of treatment plants to reclaim water. As we
commemorate the day, we are also being encouraged to work together to
sustainably manage this precious resource which is being affected by many
challenges including pollution. Its sustainable use will balance the needs of
people and the planet.
One of ZELA’s
strategic objectives is to contribute to improved business practices and local
service delivery especially healthcare, water, and sanitation through promoting
accountable, responsive, and democratic local governance systems and
responsible investments. Therefore, the organisation is committed to influence policy,
legal and planning processes on the environment and natural resource management
for improved local service delivery. Through its local service delivery and
governance programme, ZELA is empowering communities including community
monitors to effectively engage their Authorities using different tools provided
by the organisation.
On this World Water
Day, we as ZELA call upon:
· Local authorities
working closely with the Government to ensure the citizens enjoy environmental
hygiene, as an aspect of the right to health. This includes taking steps to
prevent threats to health from unsafe and toxic water conditions.
· The Government to
craft, adopt and implement comprehensive and integrated strategies and
programmes to ensure that there is sufficient and safe water for present and
future generations. Such strategies and programmes may include reducing
depletion of water resources through unsustainable extraction while ensuring
that proposed developments do not interfere with access to adequate water.
· Duty bearers and
citizens work towards the preservation of wetlands as these are important to
ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity, climate mitigation, freshwater
availability among others. Therefore, it is important to encourage actions to
conserve and restore them.
remains determined to use environmental and social service delivery issues as a
window to promote good governance and democracy at local and national level.
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association
“Celebrating two decades of promoting environmental justice through
sustainable and equitable utilisation of natural resources and environmental
Further Information, Please Contact:
Environmental Law Association
B Seke Road, Hatfield,Harare,Zimbabwe
: www.zela.org |Twitter: @ZELA_Infor | Facebook: Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association
Tel: +263 242 573 601-3