By Olimatou Coker
Department of Water Resources in collaboration with United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) together with Regional Centre for Integrated River Basin Management under the auspices for UNESCO has recently held 3 days national training workshop on water quality testing and management at Baobab Resort Hotel.
The 3 days training was funded by UNESCO and the RC-IRBM.
The objective of the course is to build the capacity of water managers and technicians in The Gambia and to transfer knowledge and skills for participants to carry out independently different water quality tests.
Speaking in his opening remarks, Lamin Jarjou, representative of the UNESCO Banjul Office Secretary General, outlined that high quality water in the right quantity at the right place at the right time is essential to health recreation and economic growth.
“Water is very significant to life support system. According to John F. Kennedy anyone who can solve the problems of water will be worthy of two Nobel Prizes, one for peace and one for science. Suffice to say that water is very essential to all existence,” he said.
He said that pure water is the world’s first medicine and water is life “and indeed water is life because thousands of people on earth have been able to live without love but none so far has been able to live without water.”
He urged all the participants to take the training seriously and to take the exercise with all seriousness and make sure to trickle it down for a more cascading effect.
Professor Anthony Maduekwe, Program Specialist UNESCO Dakar Regional Office, said water is essential for life on earth, for human survival, and for ecosystems that provide fundamental life support services. “Water quality is a key element of water security.
“Water quality is defined as a measure of the physical, chemical, biological and microbiological characteristics of water. Water quality and wastewater monitoring are fundamental tools in the management of freshwater resources and they provide essential information characterizing the physical, chemical and or biological status of water resources, determining trends and changes over time and identifying emerging water issues. They also provide the means to identify policies and measures to enhance water quality and wastewater, reduce and control water pollution from specific sources, evaluate the efficacy of pollution control and regulation policies and their implementation and deal with water quality emergencies”. He explained
According to Professor Anthony, both national and global levels, water quality and information is very scarce and often not reliable to provide a basis for sound decision making. He said this problem is due to to lack of national capabilities to effectively monitor water quality both in terms of technical and human capabilities, which is a common problem in developing countries.