ZLHR statement on world water day

ON this World Water Day, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) urges all stakeholders to reflect on responsible and sustainable use of water in order to preserve ground water.

ZLHR also urges the Zimbabwean authorities to implement concrete
policies that are aimed at increasing access to clean, safe and
potable water throughout Zimbabwe.

World Water Day is commemorated annually on 22 March to highlight the
importance of water to our communities, the environment and the global
economy. Observance of this ‘International Day’ also encourages
members of the public to utilise water in a sustainable way.

The theme for World Water Day in 2022 is “Groundwater – Making the
invisible visible.” The theme is a call upon the global community to
conserve precious groundwater. The theme also highlights the need for
everyone to commit to the sustainable consumption of groundwater.
Groundwater is a critical resource that is necessary for survival.
Experts in water governance estimate that over half of all drinking
water is derived from groundwater. It is also estimated that over 2
billion people around the world derive all of their daily drinking
water from groundwater source.

Groundwater is also key to the effective operation of industries such
as agriculture, manufacturing and the service industry. Groundwater is
extensively used in the irrigation and industrial processes. It is
also key to the proper functioning of sanitation systems. It also
supports biodiversity and ecological balance. Importantly, groundwater
plays an indispensable role in the mitigation of the adverse effects
of climate change, which include drought and natural disasters.

In some instances, Zimbabweans have to travel long distances in order
to access water that is clean and safe. The demand for potable water
in the country continues to rise each year as the population continues
to grow. It is therefore imperative for authorities to formulate
effective strategies that are aimed at increasing access to clean,
safe and potable water throughout the country.

The government has a duty to ensure that everyone has access to safe
water. In terms of Section 77 (a) of the Constitution, everyone has
the right to safe, clean and potable water. Importantly, Section 77 of
the Constitution obliges the State to adopt reasonable legislative and
other related measures that are designed to progressively realise the
right to clean, safe and potable water.

On this World Water Day, ZLHR calls upon:

•    Members of the public to reflect upon the importance of water to
society and the environment;

•    The public to use water responsibly and sustainably;

•    The authorities to fulfil their constitutional obligation to take
legislative steps that are designed to progressively realise the right
to clean, safe and potable water;

•    The authorities to take other concrete steps that are aimed at
increasing access to clean, safe and potable water throughout
Zimbabwe.

•    The Zimbabwean authorities to coordinate their efforts to conserve
and manage water with other nations, in order to effectively preserve
the earth’s valuable water resources.

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