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Mar 22, 2017

Working with Waste Water on World Water Day

In light of World Water Day celebrated across the globe today, staggering facts and data have been published that brings into sharp focus the shortage of access to potable water today and in the next couple years. The United Nations, since 1993, has marked March twenty second as World Water Day – it is a day set aside to raise awareness of the water crisis. And to highlight this importance – the UN warns that one in four of the world’s children will be living in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040 as a result of climate change.  News Five’s Andrea Polanco stopped in at today’s festivities in Belize to find out how wastewater can be used in conservation efforts.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Water – it’s arguably the number one natural resource most taken for granted – whether it is clean, safe water to drink, bathe or use for cleaning purposes. Today, across the globe, World Water Day is being observed to urge people to tackle the global water crisis – a reminder that one point eight billion people’s drinking water is contaminated with faeces. And while some here may feel far removed from that global picture, local agencies believe we must take action to conserve what we have.

 

Tennielle Williams

Tennielle Williams, Principal Hydrologist, Hydrology Unit, Ministry of Natural Resources

“Globally, we know that our water resources are finite so we have to educate the public that this is a finite resource because in Belize we have this misconception that we have a lot of water. But we actually share it globally so the UN decided to do an international day that would recognize the importance of water and the role it plays.”

 

The theme for this year is “Wastewater” – simply put – it is water that has been used – this can include water from homes, businesses, industries and institutions – everything from sewage, to bath water and washing up water. So, the focus is about reducing and reusing wastewater – which can be done in homes and even for business.

 

Tennielle Williams

“The day is highlighting action on water and really teaching us that we don’t really have to throw away the water that we have already used. We have a culture where as you use it, you throw it away and it is not good for anything else. So, that is what the campaign is doing. It is highlighting the waste water and targeting the untapped resource that we have available in our hands. You can do basically a number of things; you can open up a new niche market with collecting wastewater and you can do buy products. It also is educating the public on how you can use wastewater in your own homes and I know we all like to say that we don’t like to pay BWSL this lot of money, so we tend to use the fresh water to water our gardens and lawns and all these things. So, we are just highlighting ways in which you can reuse wastewater that is safe and we are reducing the demand on the natural resource.   We have a couple businesses in Belize that are utilizing recycling services and they are reusing the water to a level where you can wash hands and flush your toilets. So, we know the knowledge is out there and now it is just to get people to use the service so that they can reduce the demand on the water resource and reduce the cost on their pocket.”

 

As a part of the activities today, a forum with the business partners was held to share some of the innovative things being done to reuse waste water and to conserve. In addition, students from primary and high schools were engaged in an exhibition where businesses and other local partners exhibited creative displays and demonstrations themes on water – as well as colorful posters and information pamphlets with student friendly information. Exhibitors include Crystal Water, BWSL, Pumps and Motors, as well as the Hydrology Unit.

 

Ellington Cayetano

Ellington Cayetano, Hydrological Technician, Hydrology Unit

“We try to manage our country’s water resources. Those resources can be from surface water and ground water.  Also, what we do, just recently we give water abstraction license. So, if you need to abstract water from a river, an aquifer, you need a license; that is how we try to monitor our resources also.”

 

Tennielle Williams

“We are trying to engage them because we are getting older. I mean, we have to say it, we are getting older and we have to do the knowledge transfer. So, by inviting the schools we are educating them and at the same time getting them interested in the water sector, what you can’t do and what you can do. Because we have a lot of graduates coming out and they are often faced with the same question – what am I going to do? And we don’t want that. We have areas that are national needs that we could then impart that knowledge that the schools would then impart the program that the national needs would suffice; so by bringing them here we are piquing their interest and giving them some kind of direction as to where they want their careers to go.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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