National Water Week 2023, taking place from March 20 to 26, should be a rallying call for South Africans to think smarter about water security in their country says South African National Bottled Water Association CEO, Charlotte Metcalf, who added ‘and by South Africans, I mean everyone: those who consume the country’s water and those who manage it.”

“The Government’s website promoting National Water Week states that ‘The Department of Water and Sanitation celebrates Water Week by urging everyone to use water sparingly to ensure Water For All’ and that the ‘campaign is aimed at educating the public about their responsibility in water conservation initiatives, raising awareness around the need to protect and conserve the country’s water resources’, Metcalf pointed out.

“This focus on consumers and the public at large seems misplaced when South Africans have been bombarded with news of how those in charge of our country and its resources have neglected and mismanaged South Africa’s water.

www.earth.org’s claims that almost 25-30% of our water is being lost due to water leaks caused by failing infrastructure. It estimated that 70 million litres of treated, clean, drinkable water is lost daily as a result of the thousands upon thousands of leaks that characterise South Africa’s water piping system.

“This is not the fault of ‘the public’ – and urging the public to utilise water sparingly does nothing to solve the underlying issue. Only a well-maintained and efficient distribution system can do that, and for that we need our municipalities and water boards to come to the party.”

Recent headlines highlighting just how dire South Africa’s situation is include:

  • South Africa battles with water crisis
  • How can South Africa overcome its water challenges and avoid the African water crisis?
  • National water crisis looming in South Africa
  • State proposes drastic measures to save ailing water boards)
  • Cape Town has found a permanent solution to water scarcity: Recycled sewage

According to Metcalf, faced with uncertain water quality, South Africans will turn to bottled water but here, too, they should exercise caution and be wary of unscrupulous bottlers who do not adhere to South Africa’s legislation.

“We are confident that SANBWA members’ water conforms to all relevant legislation and is safe for human consumption. The best way for consumers to protect themselves from unscrupulous bottlers is to look for the SANBWA logo on a bottle of water,” she said.

“This is a seal of quality and safety, and ensures that the source is protected and sustainable. It – importantly – also offers the consumer peace of mind that the product is from a source that has been vigorously checked for the absence of contamination and pollution, that the bottling facility is hygienic and operated according to good manufacturing practices, and that the necessary procedures are in place to ensure the quality of the product.

SANBWA members brands are: Aqua Monte, aQuellé, Bené, Bonaqua, Nestlé Pure Life, Dargle Water, Designer Water, Aquabella, Fontein, La Vie De Luc, Thirsti and Valpré.

SANBWA is a voluntary association of bottlers. It was formed in 1997 (in the absence of legislation) in response to the need for the natural bottled water industry to set standards with which to regulate their industry.

These bottlers researched the accepted norms, standards and government regulations of more established natural bottled water markets before working with the Department of Health to draw up new legislation specifically based on the Codex Alimentarius to regulate and monitor the quality of local bottlers.

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