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Conservation is the name of the water game. It is vital for survival, and it is scarce – saving water is the message of the week.

Pamphlets are handed outPamphlets are handed outNATIONAL Water Week kicked off with a burst of enthusiasm as Johannesburg Water staff and volunteers marched through the streets of Soweto to educate residents and raise awareness about the scarce commodity.

This annual celebration was successfully launched on 5 March at Thokoza Park, where participants put up posters encouraging conservation awareness and dished out pamphlets to passers-by in the hope of spreading the word to save water.

Placards read: "Water is life so save it", "Every drop counts", "Imagine a day without drinking water", and "Water saves lives". "Water is life: respect it, conserve it, enjoy it" is the theme of this year's National Water Week, which runs until 11 March.

Throughout the week, Joburg Water will inform, educate and interact with residents, schoolchildren and other stakeholders by highlighting key issues affecting the state of water in the city. Tebatso Baldwin Matsimela, Joburg Water's marketing and communications manager, pointed out: "Contrary to belief, South Africa is a country that does not have an abundant supply of water and could well be described as a semi-desert region with a water shortage.

"The average rainfall in South Arica is less [than the] world average of 860 millimetres. In addition, there is an increasing number of factors that could lead the country into a water crisis, such as climate change, and an increase in population that will inevitably lead to an increase in water consumption."

He noted that there was a dire need for consumers to start realising the importance of conserving water because, as it was, many communities already did not have adequate access to water.

"Water is our future, a lifeline of Joburg and every effort should be made to use it responsibly. We are calling on the city's residents to join us in this week-long celebration by making a positive contribution towards efforts to conserve and protect the city's water resources," said Matsimela.

He concluded by stating that Joburg Water aimed to partner with all communities in ensuring the reduction in water losses by educating and engaging the general public on issues of water management.

For water saving tips, visit the Joburg Water website.