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NATIONAL WATER WEEK 2002

The year 2002 will be a landmark year for the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. Through integrated governance we are delivering a better life for all. This year sees the confluence of a number of programmes and events that will expediteservice delivery, consolidate policy and focus on safe water supply and sanitation as both a basic human right and a key to poverty reduction.

Our Free Basic Water Programme makes available 6 000 litres of safe water per household per month to 58% (26 million) of our people as at February 2002.

Our Communication and Education Campaigns will continue to develop awareness around integrated, sustainable water resource management and highlight the links between water, sanitation and basic human needs.

Our Women in Water Award will be launched this year. It will acknowledge the participationof both professional and community-based women in the water sector by recognising their contributions to research, policy, management and community development.

Our Cholera Prevention Campaign will continue to target communities at risk with support and education, emphasising the three barriers to water-borne diseases: safe water, sanitation and hygiene awareness.

Our Public Consultation Process will this year focus on two major issues: our Water Services Policy Review and our National Water Resource Strategy, the latter is key to the development of industry and agriculture.

Our Delivery of Basic Water Services remains on target to reach 14 million people by 2008. Over 7 million people already have access to safe water where there was no service before. Water, sanitation and hygiene are entry points for poverty alleviation. Safe water and sanitation facilities are basic human rights that safeguard health and human dignity. Yet there remain 1,1 billion people on Earth without access to safe water supply and over 2,4 billion people without adequate sanitation.

This year we launch the WASH Campaign (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene for All) in South Africa. By doing so we join the UN's Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council in a global alliance for making safe water, sanitation and hygiene a reality for all people on earth.

Finally, the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development is an opportunity to interrogate and consolidate our approach on the global development stage. Our premise is that sustainable development globally can only be achieved through poverty eradication in the developing world.

Ronnie Kasrils Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry