MORE than 100 pupils from various schools in the province gathered at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre to participate in a water and sanitation conference on March 1.The aim of the conference was to involve youth in developing strategies to address water and sanitation challenges. Pupils from rural and urban schools attended the conference, with each school being represented by four pupils and one teacher. Among the participants at the conference were four pupils from Mbonisweni Combined School in Tongaat. The conference, convened bi-annually since 2012, was themed “Water is a challenge: Thinking ‘out of the box’ to find innovative solutions to the water crisis”.The municipality said in a statement of the conference: “It is one of the many methodologies that the city uses to target the youth and educate them and raise awareness on a range of water and sanitation related topics.” The pupils had an opportunity to conduct research on the conference theme and propose solutions on how best to ensure future water sustainability. This will teach the youth the importance of appreciating water as a natural and scarce resource in their young academic life. The pupils talked about the challenges in the water sector such as water loss, drought, water theft, water recycling, desalination of sea water, climate change and many more issues.