Seeds of change: Creativity in the face of unprecedented problems
World Water Week at North-West University (NWU) is about preserving and creating a more sustainable world for all its inhabitants, as the institution understands that water use has vast and complex value for our households, health, education, and so on. The World Water Week theme for 2023 focuses on innovation at a time of unprecedented challenges. In an increasingly unstable and water-scarce future, the theme, ‘Seeds of Change,’ aims to rethink how water is managed.
Water is an essential resource for every living being on this planet. It sustains life, supports ecosystems, and is crucial for socio-economic development. Despite its significance, water scarcity remains a global challenge, affecting millions of people worldwide. “Our country is a water-scarce country and it ranks as 1 of the 30 driest countries in the world. We strive to work with stakeholders in the private and public sectors to assist in the efforts for sustainable water management across the SADC region”, says NWU Principle and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Bismark Tyobeka.
NWU’s Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management provides students with the knowledge and skills to become leaders in the field and to help protect and sustain the environment. NWU’s Aquatic Ecosystem Health programme’s strategic aim is continued research to learn the status of water quality and how it influences human and wildlife in South Africa. The university also maintains a strong relationship with local and international partners, which allows students to collaborate with professionals and gain valuable insight into the field.
NWU’s Senior Lecturer, Dr Adeline Ngie from the School of Geo- and Spatial Sciences states that “South Africa is a water-scarce country, and as a university it is our responsibility to educate people about water conservation initiatives and to raise awareness around the need to protect and conserve the country’s water resources.” Seipati Poopedi, a master’s student at the NWU, recently participated in the Wetskills Water Challenge in Cape Town. Seipati highlighted that she is passionate about water-related issues, especially in Africa. She was one of the two students that were successfully selected across South Africa in this challenge. She is currently pursuing an MSc in environmental science, and her research focuses on wastewater treatment challenges in the North West province. During the two weeks, and together with her teammates, she worked on a case provided by the WRC with the title: “Strengthening cooperation and capacity development in Southern African Development Community (SADC) through the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus”.
We must recognise that water is a scarce resource and it must be used sustainably and equitably for the benefit of all. We need to support research that can improve water resource management and help us to understand the impacts of climate change on water availability. By doing this, we can ensure a secure future for generations to come, and that everyone has access to safe, clean, and reliable water.
Be creative, be the change because every drop counts.