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Careers in water: go with the flow

Youth matters

Careers in water: go with the flow

Gabi Khumalo

Photo caption: Through schools programmes at both primary and secondary levels, the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs raises awareness of water conservation and water-related careers.

 

The water sector in South Africa needs people with technical skills to ensure resource management. Learners are therefore urged to take up studies in Maths, Science and Technology to close the skills gap and address the challenges facing the water sector.

Speaking during the 2012 National Youth Water Summit, Minister of Water and Environ- mental Affairs Edna Molewa noted that while South Africa was blessed with vast natural resources, it was not blessed when it came to water and was currently ranked among the 30 driest countries in the world.

“The water sector is faced with a challenge of dwindling technical skills as many technicians and engineers are aging and will soon be retiring … We therefore need more of our children to study Science and Mathematics and go into these areas of work,” the Minster said.

 

Water resource management

She said the sustainability of this resource would be achieved only if citizens were educated about water resource management, sanitation, health and hygiene.

“The participation of our communities and our children as stakeholders is crucial to us achieving this goal.”

Held under the theme Meaningful participation of Africa’s youth in water resource management can contribute to sustainable development, the Youth Water Summit was an opportunity for youth to participate in various educational activities.

The aim of the summit was to empower the youth to actively participate in water conservation and to pursue water-related careers.

The department is driving education and awareness programmes such as the 2020 Vision for Water and Environment Education Programme. It includes the South African Youth Water Prize, aimed at educating society about the importance of water conservation, management and sanitation.

 

Baswa Le Meetse wards

The programme also includes the Baswa Le Meetse Awards, which focuses on primary school learners. Through these initiatives, which are both educational and fun, the department is able to create awareness of the limited water resources and the need to protect and conserve them.