Winners of the Disguise & Poetry competition, Play/Sketch competition and Videography competition on the theme “Water and Nature” meant for students of the primary, secondary and tertiary education sector as well as professional videographers, organised by the Central Water Authority (CWA) in the context of the World Water Day (WWD) 2018, were announced earlier at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Tower in Ebène in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Mr Ivan Collendavelloo.
Students and professional videographers were required to showcase the value of water and how nature can be used to overcome the water challenges in the 21st century. Winners of each category were entitled to a cash prize, a certificate and a shield. The Professional Video award followed by a cash prize of Rs 30,000 went to Mr Vijendra Ramdhun while the first prize of the videography competition for the tertiary level was awarded to Ms Marla Marie Michella of the University of Mauritius.
The winner for the best play (primary level) is Notre Dame de Lourdes RCA who won a cash prize of Rs 15,000. Notre Dame Des Victoires RCA and Notre Dame de Lorette RCA bagged the second and third prizes respectively. For the Sketch & Disguise competition, London College was the grand winner and participants received a cash prize of Rs 20,000. The second prize was awarded to Dunputh Lallah SSS while Dr Maurice Curé State College won the third prize.
In his address, Mr Ivan Collendavelloo highlighted that the world's most expensive commodities are worth nothing in the absence of water. Fresh water is essential for life, with no substitute. Although mostly unpriced, it is the most valuable and precious commodity in the world and hence the need to manage the resource properly, he added.
Speaking about the CWA, the Deputy Prime Minister stated that the organisation has contributed immensely in the development of the country since its setting up in 1973. However, he pointed out, with Mauritius being highly vulnerable to climate change, whose negative impacts are being already felt in the last decade through longer dry seasons, shorter wet seasons and increased intensity of droughts, there is a need to modernise the CWA.
For his part, the General Manager of the CWA, Dr Yousouf Ismaël, underlined that as the world is facing the consequences of climatic changes and is getting drier, it is urgent that people realise the value of water. Access to sufficient safe water is a fundamental requirement for the survival of humanity and for the socio-economic well-being and livelihood of each and every one, he added.
Speaking about this year’s theme “Nature for Water,” Dr Ismaël dwelt on the need to use nature to overcome the water challenges. Environmental damage, together with climate change, is driving the water-related crisis we see around the world. Floods, drought and water pollution are all made worse by degraded vegetation, soil, rivers and lakes. When we neglect our ecosystems, we make it harder to provide everyone with the water we need to survive and thrive, he said.
According to him, nature-based solutions have the potential to solve many water challenges. Planting new forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, and restoring wetlands will rebalance the water cycle and improve human health and livelihoods, he added.
The General Manager also spoke of his determination to enhance efficiency at the CWA as well as provide quality and safe water at an affordable price to the whole population. In this context, he recalled that several initiatives have been implemented such as replacing of pipes, construction of dams, upgrading of distribution mains and distribution networks, and upgrading of pumping stations, amongst others.
He underlined that in 2018, 800 million litres of water are being produced compared to 540 million litres of water in 2014. Furthermore, the number of subscribers has also increased to reach around 250,000. As at date, there are 11 dams, five aquifers, 25 rivers and 6,000 km of pipes around Mauritius.
World Water Day, observed on 22nd March annually, aims to raise awareness among the population on the importance of water in our everyday life. The theme chosen this year to mark the day is: ‘Nature for Water’ which explores nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.