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Pretoria – Government has sent congratulations to the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality for scooping the Stockholm Industry Water Award and to Professor John Briscoe of South Africa for receiving the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize.

eThekwini Water and Sanitation, serving the Durban metropolitan area, received the award for its transformative and inclusive approach to providing water and sanitation.

Professor Briscoe was awarded for his unparalleled contributions to global and local water management, and his unwavering commitment to improving the lives of people on the ground.

Acting GCIS CEO Phumla Williams said the fact that South Africa is the recipient of two of the three awards indicate that the country is moving forward towards realising a standard of excellence in access to clean water.

“Government is equally proud of the learners, who are from a South African public school. They focused on harvesting and purifying rain water to the level of consumption.

“Their initiative to address water related issues is an inspiration and an indication that South Africa’s learners are future leaders and experts that will play an instrumental role in addressing global challenges,” Williams said.

Government also encourages all municipalities to follow similar initiatives and endeavours to constantly seek ways of improving the quality of services offered to the public.

“The method used by eThekwini is an example that could be implemented in South African municipalities and communities across the world that face similar challenges,” said Williams.

Government also congratulated learners from Taxila Secondary School in Polokwane, Limpopo who were finalists at the global conference. The learners, who were competing against other learners across the globe, invented a method that uses sand filters to treat contaminated water and recover water for reuse.

The 2014 World Water Week, which started last week Monday and closed on Friday, was hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute. The week emphasised the importance of water efficiency.

The conference focused on the development and management of energy and water for the good of society and ecosystems at local, national, regional and global levels.

During the summit, experts at the 2014 World Water Week, in Stockholm, agreed that more needs to come out of the existing networks of organisations, and resources must be pooled to increase access to water and sanitation, so more people can enjoy this basic human right.