The sun rose high and hot on the morning of the 3rd of October – a perfect day for a Water Festival!
As a part of the Mpophomeni Enviro Club’s work towards becoming Water Explorers, and for the WESSA EcoSchools water project supported by the Department of Water and Sanitation, the Enviro Club members hosted a Water Festival to share what they have learnt about water with their community.
Seven Water Stations were set up along a route which started at the Nokulunga Gumede Memorial Wall, went up Mandela Drive, past the taxi rank, and into Mhlongo Rd, ending at the Mpophomeni Community Garden.
Zamile Mtambo of Mpophomeni Conservation Group (MCG) had been collecting cardboard and with some children, painting bright banners to encourage everyone to stop polluting the streams of Mpophomeni. Her dream is to create a park along the eMhlangeni stream, with a path from the Community Garden all the way to the Library, with clean flowing water, indigenous plants, eco-benches and trees to sit under.
Each station along the Water Walk focused on a different topic. At the Library the public were enticed to participate and watch a very entertaining edu-active puppet show by Yo-Puppet Co.
At the next stop, everyone learnt about ‘secret water’ – the water which goes into the production of everyday items (for example: did you know that it take 10 500L to make a pair of Jeans?) Philani Ncgobo commented “This secret water was the fact that amazed people the most.”
Youngsters got to experience how water makes music and how the water cycle works.
Ayanda Lipheyana of MCG/DUCT was not able to conduct a miniSASS test in the stream as the water quality was simply too awful with an overflowing manhole nearby. Instead they did a mock miniSASS and discussed what to do about the dilemma of bursting manholes. We need to encourage residents to take responsibility for reporting overflowing sewers and monitoring the condition of the streams near their homes. Water leakages and sewage problems should be reported to:
- uMngungundlovu District Municipality Call Centre 080 0864 911
- Ayanda Lipheyana 076 434 6719
Passers-by learnt how to tell if water is polluted, how to purify it and were encouraged to write their own pledge to protect precious water.
One station shared ideas on how to save water in your home and garden.
The Enviro Club kids estimated that they had collectively spoken to 105 people during the course of the morning spreading the message that water is extremely precious.
Ntombenhle Mtambo from MCG showed the visitors around her waterwise garden, emphasising the importance of swales to harvest and store water and mulch to prevent evaporation.
” I was so impressed, theses kids know what they are talking about! I liked it that they used real experiences from their home and community to explain. I thought I knew a lot about water, but they have even taught me somethings today. I believe that these kids can make a big difference, changing things in our community.”
Julia Colvin and Bridget Ringdahl from the Water Explorers programme, funded by GAP, attended the festival, and awarded the kids with book prizes for their efforts.
If you missed out on the fun, we hope to have another festival next year during National Water Week in March. Keep your eyes and ears open for news!