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Mar 23, 2016

World Water Day – Water and Jobs

This Tuesday was celebrated across the globe as World Water Day. In Belize, the activities since last week with a two-day water symposium held at the Biltmore Plaza. The symposium linked water to jobs and major companies spoke of the importance of protecting the natural resource, which is under threat. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

World Water Day is celebrated annually on March twenty-second and this year a two-day symposium was held under the United Nations theme for 2016: “Water and Jobs.” Tenielle Williams is the Head of the National Integrated Water Resources Authority Secretariat and spoke of the importance to sensitize the public about the linkages between water and life.

 

Tenielle Williams

Tenielle Williams, Head, Hydrology Unit

“Everybody needs water. We needed water to create the mic, we needed water to create your camera. So what we are trying to do is bring to the forefront that water in isolation is linked to something else; it is not every man is an island. So we each need connectivity and inter linkages to work. So we are trying to bring out the theme, Water and Jobs—better water, better jobs.”

 

There are several rivers in the country and along these major rivers, there are several industries including the sugar industry, aquaculture farming as well as the Belize Water Services Limited that supply potable water to the country. For local beverage company Bowen and Bowen, water is the main component of their various products and the company employs over a thousand workers across the country.

 

Jason Badillo

Jason Badillo, Crystal Brand Coordinator, Bowen & Bowen

“It’s important because we provide clean drinking water for our communities. We have a lot of places right here in Central America that don’t have clean drinking water. They are out trying to drink other processed stuff because the water isn’t good.”

 

Managing water usage is everyone’s responsibility; it’s a natural solvent and can be easily affected by everyday human activities. In an effort to establish our water footprint, the University of Belize students put off a display to establish the positive aspect of our waterways.

 

Gorlee Marin

Gorlee Marin, NRMP Student, University of Belize

“We have been tasked to present about the watersheds that we have in this country. As you know there are sixteen of them—five of them we share boundaries with neighboring countries Guatemala and Mexico. What we have is a model which depicts the Belize River and the other groups are depicting the Rio Hondo. What we are here for is due to the theme—World Water Day; Water and Jobs. Water is very important to us on a whole. It provides so many jobs to us; without water so many people would be jobless, without water there won’t be life. So we’re depicting tourism as well.”

 

But are our water sources under threat?

 

Tenielle Williams

“That’s kind of a trick question in some regards. Us, as humans, we are affecting our own water resources. We say this because we tend to not take care of things. From I was about five years old, you hear that Belize has a lot of water, there’s no need to worry…turn on a tap and leave it running. But as you get more educated and you get more informed, you realize that we have a dependency ratio. And a dependency ratio means that we depend on water that does not come from Belize. So we depend on water from the Mopan and the Macal which forms the Belize River; we depend on water from the Rio Hondo. You have different activities; you have mining, water abstraction, you have clearing and dredging. I mean all of these activities are required for development; for production to take place, for people to live. So it is not saying that you cannot do these activities; it’s just saying that there is a manner in which we should do it and in a frequency in which we should do it. And often times, we are so lapsed the we just do things how we want to do things and so now the ministry is taking on the role of telling you we are not stopping development from taking place, but we are informing you about what the effects are so that you are culpable.”

Duane Moody for News Five.

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