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Seychelles Minister for the Environment speaks on World Water Day: March 22, 2013

Seychelles Minister for the Environment speaks on World Water Day: March 22, 2013 ( Prof. Rolph Payet, the Seychelles Minister with responsibility for the Environment, issued a message on World Water Day, March 22, 2013. His message reads:

Twenty years ago, the United Nations dedicated March 22 as World Water Day. This year the day is being commemorated under the theme “International Year of Cooperation.”

As an island state, our Seychelles is blessed to have fresh water sources, which the Public Utilities Corporation abstracts to provide safe drinking water to the population and to the different businesses and industries. One can only imagine how life would be for important sectors such as health, farming, and tourism without adequate water.

Yes, it is true with rapid development water is becoming scarce; it is also a fact that with climate change our rain patterns have changed, with shorter rainy seasons and longer period of droughts. Surface sources are depleting and groundwater resources limited. In order to provide more potable water, the government of Seychelles has to invest heavily in capital-intensive projects.

The raising of the La Gogue Dam and the desalination plants are some such projects undertaken or being undertaken. The marginal cost of providing additional water from such projects is high. So it is of utmost importance that the cooperation of all consumers in all the sectors is forthcoming to maintain the demand at more manageable levels. For a number of years, the PUC has been advocating the saving of water by changing of individual habits and corporate culture. Further, the use of water-saving devices and also reuse of wastewater for non-critical uses such as agriculture, landscaping, gardening is also being promoted. This strategy remains unchanged and should be further explored to keep water demands at more manageable levels and ensure that potable water still flows from the taps of each and every Seychellois household.

Other ways of sustaining the water supply have been explored. Rain water harvesting is taking its place as a must now; schools, private homes, and tourism establishments have proven that harvesting rain water is a crucial way of saving on your water bills. Water harvested can be used for all purposes, it is even safe to drink after it has it has been boiled.

I call on all and every one of us to come together; cooperate to maintain the existence of water sources. Our irresponsible acts - when we use rivers as dumping sites, when rivers are diverted or reclaimed - will hasten the depletion of rivers and contribute to make fresh water sources scarcer.


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