What does the word “WATER” mean to you? To me WATER means LIFE. Where there is no water, there is no life. It is our lifeline that bathes us, feeds us and keeps us alive. Plants and animals alike need water in order to survive. It is the most precious natural resource yet it is the most wasted. In Southern Africa alone over 200 million people across the region are at risk of water shortages.
The urban population rarely thinks of the importance of water because water is so accessible. This is the reason why most urban folk take water for granted. Urbanites need to learn the importance of saving water. They need to be educated on how to use water sparingly now, while they still have access to it.
For a person living in the rural areas, however, having access to clean water is a privilege. Most villages, especially in Africa do not have clean water, let alone taps in their vicinity. Villagers, mostly women and children are required to walk long distances to get water. In most cases, people and animals uses the same water source for drinking and bathing which makes them vulnerable to water borne diseases like cholera.
In South Africa this year, the Department of Water and Sanitation set aside the 16-20 March 2015 as the country’s national water week. Various water conservation projects such as the War on Leaks and Adopt-a -River have been launched across the country as a way of educating the public on ways to save and protect water resources.
This is a great initiative by the government of South Africa because it is reported that South Africa loses 30% of its fresh water every year due to old infrastructure and water leaks. South Africa is not alone in these efforts, in order to manage water scarcity, variability and distribution disparity amongst the Member States, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) formulated several legal and non-legal instruments to address these issues. These include: The SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses, The SADC Regional Water Policy (RWP) of 2005, and the Regional Water Strategy 
These efforts by governments and regional bodies are meaningless if we as citizens do not play our part. This year, I made a pact with myself, I decided that I was going to play a more active role in preserving water. Here are some of the personal decisions I have made to save water:
- I will drink from a cup and not directly from a tap,
- I will make sure that I close the taps tightly so that there is no water dripping.
- I am trying to harvest rain water which I use for watering my house plants and wash my car.
To me, every effort counts, let’s start saving water one glass at a time. Imagine, if an average glass of water weighs 250ml, and one person saves one glass of water per day for one year, one person would have saved 91,250 litres of water. Now imagine the impact which 7.125 billion can have in water preservation! Please join me and make efforts to save water whenever you can!
By Keolebogile Tiro
 Source: http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/9789400770966-c2.pdf?SGWID=0-0-45-1411634-p175279460
 Source: http://mg.co.za/article/2013-10-11-00-southern-africas-struggle-for-clean-water