In a bid to fight the scourge of the water crisis in the country, the eThekwini Municipality will host the sixth South African Young Water Professionals Biennial Conference for the first time.

This major water conference which had been rotating between Gauteng and Western Cape provinces since it was introduced,will be held at Durban Inkosi Albert Luthi Convention Centre between 20 to 23 October under the theme “My Water, My Business.” The conference is being held for the first time in KwaZulu-Natal and will bring together researchers, consultants, water services authorities, water services providers and general water professionals with an aim to talk about and address water sector challenges. Unpacking the details of the conference at the launch held at Durban ICC on Tuesday, Young Water Professional chairperson, Lindelani Sibiya said this year’s conference is aimed at making it easy, financially and logistically for the local and previously disadvantaged sector youth, who come from rural dominated provinces, to get a chance to empower each other through the conference.

“As such, whilst this is a national event, we give emphasis to the current leaders from all local regulators, water authorities, water boards, consulting firms, academic institutions and other organisations within water and sanitation business space to enable and encourage their young employees to participate and be empowered at this coming conference,” said Sibiya. He alluded that the water and sanitation sector was one of the sectors currently experiencing a multitude of challenges resulting from climate change and equally presented with untapped opportunities brought by technological advancement. “As future leaders, it is imperative that we prepare ourselves to be able to lead the sector when the time comes and also to start now to contribute in shaping it as its custodians. We as youth should be instrumental in strategy development and implementation intended for achieving the sustainable development goals,” said Sibiya.

UMngeni Water chief executive Officer (CEO) Thami Hlongwa said the current challenges and opportunities on these sectors at hand provide a perfect breeding ground for businesses and specifically, involvement of young entrepreneurs in exploiting these to create and sustain businesses.

“We need to ensure that we come out with proper strategies on how we are going to conserve the scarce water available and also continue with providing clean water for the people of South Africa. I believe that the conference will be a success and it will see many young people receiving training,” said Hlongwa. He assured his full support to young people and to ensure that water delivery is sustainable. Councillor Thinta Cibane from eThekwini Municipality, said the municipality was very honoured to host an event of this magnitude. ” Water is a basic human right, but it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that water is protected and conserved at the same time.”