‘Clean, drinkable water is a human right’

A sterilising brand is of the view that South Africans can pave the way for a future where everyone has the basic human right to access clean and drinkable water.

On March 22, World Water Day is observed, focusing on the importance of this natural resource and its contribution to life.

Having clean, drinkable water available is a human right, but unfortunately, it is still a luxury to many in South Africa according to Bronwyn Ragavan, brand manager for sterilising brand Milton. She added despite being a country rich in natural resources, millions of South Africans still grapple with the lack of access to clean and drinkable water.

“South Africa faces a multifaceted water crisis, involving pollution, inadequate infrastructure, and the impact of climate change,” explained Bronwyn.

“Not having drinkable, quality water can have severe health implications for South Africans and an outbreak of waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery, such as in Hammanskraal in 2023. This can disproportionately affect vulnerable communities, especially children, who have limited access to healthcare.”

According to Bronwyn, different elements can affect our water and make it unsuitable for drinking. These include:

• Pollution: Industrial effluents, agricultural runoff, and inadequate waste management can contribute to the pollution of South Africa’s water sources. Rivers and groundwater reservoirs can carry contaminants that compromise the quality of drinking water.

• Infrastructure: Many communities, especially in rural areas, lack proper water infrastructure. Limited access to sanitation facilities and outdated water treatment plants contribute to the contamination of water supplies. Many rural areas in South Africa still make use of pit latrines and when not maintained correctly can cause contamination of groundwater and water resources. Ageing pipelines also pose a risk of further contamination.

• Climate change impact: The effects of climate change, including prolonged droughts, floods and erratic weather patterns, exacerbate water scarcity issues. Dwindling water supplies and increased competition for resources make it even more challenging to ensure a consistent supply of clean water for all.

“By prioritising sustainable water management, investing in infrastructure, and fostering a sense of collective responsibility, we can pave the way for a future where every South African has the basic human right to access clean and drinkable water.”

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