The original Dhivehi article was published on Avas.mv website on 2nd April 2017.
The following is a loose translation:
Editor’s note: This is an essay by Minister of Environment and Energy Mr Thoriq Ibrahim. This is published with few changes in accordance to Avas’ writing standards.
There are 663 million people in differents parts of the world who suffer from safe water accessibility. There are young and old people from countries that spend hours in search of a pile of water.
Some people use water from rivers where animals go in to drink water. Even in developed countries, millions use unclean water. Diseases are spread in countries where they consume polluted water. Many die from waterborne disease after consuming contaminated water.
Water is vital for human survival and an important substance that exists naturally on earth.
There is a close connection between Maldives being a low-lying country and accessibility to potable water, sourced from rain, ground and freshwater lakes (Kulhi).
For years, in the islands rainwater was collected, stored in tanks and used for drinking and cooking, whilst groundwater was used for other purposes.
In the past, household tanks and community tanks were accessed for drinking water. However, due to increase in islands population, consumption of water for various purposes increased, and changes to lifestyle lead to island’s freshwater lens (reservoirs of fresh groundwater in the limestone rocks – provide the islanders with their water) depletion from over-extraction, resorting to modern technology as the means to access drinking water.
Ever since President Abdulla Yameen Gayoom took office, statistics reveal how he prioritized providing safe water for all.
Until 2013 since the initiation water supply project in the Maldives, 25% of inhabitants from 6 islands were using piped water. However, at the end of 2016, the islands with safe water supplied rose to 21. That makes 39% of the country’s population. It is President Yameen’s government’s objective to provide 75% of the Maldives’ population with modern water supply service by 2018.
In the year 2015, in order to combat the situation of islands with no access to water, a special project was initiated and 27 islands were established with means to harvest rainwater, while works are ongoing to supply safe water in 76 more islands.
2004 Tsunami caused severe damage to the freshwater lens. Left with contaminated wells (tanks). Following that, the government successfully managed to provide Maldivians with safe drinking water.
It is government’s policy to ensure the citizens with basic needs by the establishment of reliable water supply and sewerage systems and to achieve it through one regulating body. Under this policy water supply and sewerage systems are being established in the island through utility companies.
Since water is an essential element for life, to consume water wisely, to preserve Maldives’ freshwater lens, to harvest more rainwater and to make good use of water, which President Abdulla Yameen’s government is strategically implementing. With that ‘ safe water is assured for all’,.
During this year’s International Water Day the slogan was based on recycling and safe reuse of wastewater. This was the specific target of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6), which also supports (target 6.3). Decrease wasting water, reuse recycled wastewater, find ways to treat water and to adopt such mechanisms will pave the way to augment clean water supplies.
Leading to the continued growth of Maldives’ population, problems contributed by country’s development and pressure placed upon freshwater lens of islands keeps increasing. Saving water and reusing water is the solution.
It is also imperative to make it every individual’s duty to save water, to look for ways to reuse water and to make good use of this precious water.
Some countries do use recycled wastewater and some countries do drink recycled wastewater as well.
It is true. There are millions living without love, but no can live without water.
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