World Water Day 2016: WATER AND JOBS

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Updated: March 22, 2016

Today, Belize joined the rest of the world in celebrating world water day. Rudolph Williams Junior, the Director of Water and Waste Water Sector at the Public Utilities Commission shared with us the importance of the day.

RUDOLPH WILLIAMS JR

“World Water Day started off after the Rio Summit in Brazil in 1992 when the United Nations decided that it was important for us to recognize the vital role that water played in the survival of human beings and the planet and they designated the 22nd of March the following year as World Water day and ever since we’ve been celebrating it to highlight exactly what the water allows us to do making sure that people are aware as to how important water is for our survival here on the planet.”

Williams said there are a number of misconceptions about water in Belize.

RUDOLPH WILLIAMS JR

“The misconception about water is that we don’t have to worry about managing our water resources properly because we have a lot of it and like I said we always promote that yes we do have a lot of water but we are not managing it properly. Many people feel that because of the lot of rain fall we have that we have a lot of water, really and truly we have a lot of surface water but we are not utilizing a lot of surface water in all the water sheds that we have. Some of them are very stressed and some of them have little or no stress. The section that has a lot of stress is the ground water where we have seen for irrigation purposes that agriculture sector has been using a lot of water and we feel that we don’t have to worry about it but all water is connected. The rain fall is connected to the ground then to the trees and to the leaves and everything so whatever we do on top of the earth ends up going into the underground water and we are starting to mess up our water resources if we do not manage it properly. The bottom line is that we have water and we need to manage it properly so we have it available for other generations and to make it not expensive to convert it to potable water because we know that we have to convert other water to potable water to make it safe for human beings to drink.”

The concerns over the safety of water has been raised from time to time. Williams said the water that we drink is safe.

RUDOLPH WILLIAMS JR

“If you are going to take water directly from the stream I do not advise that however the potable water that is provided by BWS goes through a rigorous treatment process and the Ministry of Health monitors that water to ensure that it’s safe. The Ministry of Health has the legal responsibility to monitor that water and they do it on a regular basis and they certify that that water is safe. We at the PUC also do random sampling and we check to make sure that it is safe so BWS’s water is safe, I would say 99% of the time. My position with bottled water vs BWS water is that it is a choice. You make that choice but there are vulnerabilities where bottled water is concerned. Bottled water is pure when it’s put in a sealed container. If you take a dirty bottle to the water company then the water is no longer safe. It’s one of the water that is vulnerable because it has no disinfectant in it, it is pure water, BWS has chlorine in it. So if it is not exposed and it’s consumed as it is opened I say that it’s fairly safe for you to use and if you are going to leave it open, please don’t leave it for a long period of time.”

The day is being celebrated with the theme, Water and jobs.