Global water award for SA

first_imgThe roundabout Playpump, one of the innovative strategies that help communities to gain access to clean water. (Image: Chris Kirchhoff, MediaClub South Africa. For more photos, visit the image library.) Many communities, especially in ruralareas, struggle with the problem of safedrinking water and sanitation. (Image: International Water Association)Janine ErasmusThe Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) is a global winner in the International Water Association’s (IWA) Project Innovation Award programme for 2008. In the category of Operations and Management category, DWAF, in conjunction with the Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa and water engineering consultants Emanti Management, was recognised for its pioneering municipal water quality management in South Africa.DWAF won the European regional award for Operations and Management in May 2008, and was named as one of five global winners in early September. The awards will be presented on 10 September 2008, at the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition in Vienna, Austria.The IWA established the Project Innovation Award programme in 2006 to pay tribute to excellence and innovation in water engineering projects around the world. The awards ceremony is held on a biennial basis, with the inaugural event taking place at the World Water Congress in Beijing in 2006.The awards are given in five categories: applied research, planning, design, operations and management, and small projects. Projects are judged in each region by an international panel drawn from IWA members, and evaluated according to a set of criteria that focuses on excellence and innovation, not only in project conception, but also in results.Improving local water supplySouth Africa faces the same water-related challenges as many other parts of the continent. There has been marked success in tackling this issue, as revealed by Statistics South Africa’s 2007 general household survey, which reports that a number of provinces have improved access to pipe or tap water. The majority of those who receive piped water from their municipality gave a positive rating for the service.However, many municipalities still struggle with meeting the challenge and have been unable to implement adequate water treatment and quality management measures.In 2006, the national Department of Water Affairs and Forestry introduced an innovative two-year project for the countrywide deployment of an electronic water quality management system known as eWQMS. All 166 municipal water services authorities in South Africa received eWQMS.The system was developed and is maintained by Emanti Management and rolled out by DWAF, the Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa, and water engineering consultants including Emanti.The use of eWQMS has contributed significantly to an improved level of awareness of quality drinking water matters, a growing improvement in effective drinking water quality management and a direct improvement in drinking water quality provision across South Africa, said IWA.Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry Lindiwe Hendricks commented in May 2008 that, “The electronic water quality management system that we have established is able to pick up problem areas and allow us to work with relevant structures and organisations to deal with these problems.”According to IWA, some 90% of municipal water authorities are currently submitting drinking water data in a regular and timely manner. The eWQMS system has established that 94% of municipalities across the country deliver drinking water that meets national quality standards. Hendricks denounced as “unacceptable” the 6%, located mainly in rural areas, which are non-compliant, and said that mayors of those municipalities had been contacted and instructed to urgently address the situation.The minister also said that DWAF was studying the legislation to identify the means of taking over the errant municipalities’ water quality management role.Water quality a global problemOne of the developing world’s key problems is access to adequate drinking water and sanitation, especially in rural areas. According to statistics released by the World Health Organisation, over a billion people lacked access to improved water sources in 2002. This represented 17% of the global population at the time. In sub-Saharan Africa, 42% of all people did not have access to improved water.Improved access to water is an important feature of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals programme, which sets out, as one of its main targets, the halving of the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. The United Nations has also declared 2005 to 2015 as the international “Water for Life” decade for action, with a view to increasing the awareness of the world on water-related issues.The World Health Organisation says that in order to meet the water supply target, an additional 260 000 people every day up to 2015 must gain access to improved water.Developing a global networkThe IWA’s mission is to lead the global development of sustainable water management at local, national and international levels, in both the developed and developing world. This through is done through its global network of leading water professionals, providing services and products to members, including conferences and publications.The other four IWA global winners for 2008 are:Environmental engineering firm Brown and Caldwell, for a biosolids treatment process that upgrades the waste to highly nutritious fertilizer; Donohue & Associates for a method of treating wastewater biosolids to produce a reusable, marketable glass product; PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, for re-plumbing the nation’s sewage systems deeper underground; and environmental scientists Joe Brown and Mark Sobsey of the University of North Carolina, for easy treatment of rural drinking water in Cambodia using ceramic water filters.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus on [email protected] This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Related articlesThe state of the nationTapping into ingenuityInfrastructure development in South AfricaUseful linksDepartment of Water Affairs and ForestryInstitute of Municipal Engineering of Southern AfricaWorld Health Organisation: waterUM Millennium Development GoalsIWA world water congress 2008last_img read more

Odisha to offer millet in public distribution system

first_imgBHUBANESWAR: In a bid to promote nutritious millet and give a push to the tribal economy, the Odisha government has decided to offer one kilogram ragi (millet) at ₹1 per kg per card holder through the public distribution system.The issue of procurement and distribution of millet was discussed threadbare in the Odisha Millet Mission under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi here on Monday.Mr. Padhi directed to pilot the ragi distribution in seven districts — Gajpati, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nuapada and Rayagada — from the month of July. The card holders in Malkangiri district, where millet consumption is widespread, will be supplied 2 kg of ragi. “Around 17,500 quintals of ragi would be distributed to the card holders. The future of the programme will depend on the acceptability of the people and impact of the pilot,” State Agriculture Secretary Sourav Garg said.The State government proposed to procure around one lakh quintals of ragi from farmers in the coming kharif season at a minimum support price of ₹2897 per quintal. Tribals are the principal producers of millets in the State.In the kharif season of 2018, a total number of 24,499 farmers were registered and verified for procurement of ragi. Only 6622 farmers had sold their surplus product to Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation of Odisha Limited. The procurement was done through 68 societies in eight districts at ₹2,897 per quintal. Around 17,986 quintals of rice were procured.“The decision would go a long way in promoting millet in the State. It will not only give an additional choice to consumers in their food basket but also help tribals earn much-needed cash through the PDS. Now, rice and wheat — two principal grains — are being supplied to people through the PDS. But, a large population in Odisha consumes millet. Besides, tribals who were selling millet at ₹15 to ₹20 per kg will get more than ₹29 per kg, which will encourage them to go in for millet production,” said Prasant Mohanty, an activist who have been advocating the promotion of millet for years.Senior officials from different departments participated in the meeting to streamline millet distribution in the State. The Millet Mission directorate was directed to promote consumption of ragi in urban pockets through tie-ups with bakeries, biscuit manufacturers, sweet stalls and mega retail counters.last_img read more