Mumbwa water crisis declared a disaster

Chibila dam

Chibila Dam a major water source providing about 50% of drinking water for Mumbwa District has dried up, plunging the district into a drastic water crisis.

The drying up of Chibila Dam has been alluded to the effects of climate change as it has not been spared by the drought experienced in the 2015/2016 rain season. This has resulted into a scramble of water by farmers cultivating along the banks of the Chibila stream affecting the flow of water into the Dam.

Speaking in an interview, Mumbwa District Council Chairman Gracious Hamatala declared the water crisis as an emergency which needed immediate interventions by government and all stakeholders as lack of water was posing a threat to the health of the district.

“The main water supply run by Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company Limited (LgWSC) has run out of water and the storage holding capacity of the Dam has been affected over the years. One reason is because of the cultivation that has been taking place along the river banks. This has resulted into siltation of the dam reducing the Dam capacity,” Mr. Hamatala said.

The Council Chairman has also revealed that diarrhea cases had increased especially among children and if the situation was not curbed, the district could be on the verge of cholera outbreak as reported in some parts of Central Province.

LgWSC Managing Director Mushany Ngafise Kapusana was saddened to note that Chibila Dam which provides 50% of water to Mumbwa has dried up and that the water utility company is not able to pump and provide water to the community. He said the water Utility Company was working with the stakeholders to come up with immediate measures that could be implemented and lessen the situation.

Chibila dam

“We are working with our Shareholders in Mumbwa who are the Mumbwa District Council and other stakeholders to come up with solutions that can be done in the immediate term. For starters, we have immediate measures in place. Firstly, we are immediately commencing the supply of water using the Water Bowser to affected residents. Besides that, we are also frantically engaging all stakeholders upstream with the view of restricting abstraction to allow water to build up in Chibila dam” Mr. Kapusana said.

He further explained that the company also has medium term measures in place which includes the aggressive mobilization of resources through government to drill and equip two new boreholes in order to improve water supply to affected residents.

LgWSC Managing Director also took time to highlight the long term measures. “The long term measure to have a long-lasting solution to this crisis is to rehabilitate and upgrade Chibila Dam and the surface water treatment plant in order to improve the holding capacity and water production under the National Water Supply Urban Basket” Mr. Kapusana said.

Mumbwa District currently has 3 boreholes which are operational. Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company (LgWSC) still has had a tough time abstracting enough water from the boreholes to supply and effectively mitigate the crisis due to rampant load shedding in Mumbwa.

“The water from the boreholes which are the alternative water sources, is taking longer time to fill up the water reservoirs as in the process, we are being loadshedded. This implies that we cannot pump and distribute water because our pumps are largely dependent on electricity,” The Managing Director said.

We have appealed to our counterparts ZESCO to reduce the numbers of hours that they are loadshedding the District so that we can have a bit more time to fill the reservoirs and supply water to the people,” he added.

The Managing Director said that other immediate interventions that the Company was looking at were engaging prisoners to clear the silted stream and improve the inflow so that water would be allowed to build up. Coupled with that, the village headmen had agreed to engage farmers cultivating along the banks of the stream to desist abstracting water from the Dam for an agreed upon period while the water levels could build up in the Dam.

Mr. Kapusana said the rehabilitation and expansion of the Dam would cost about K1.400, 000 which would include removal of silt from the dam, removing vegetation and rebuilding the embankment of the dam among other refurbishment of the Water Treatment Plant.

The Water Utility Company also seeks to sink additional boreholes as some of the 25 metered deep boreholes had no yields as the water table levels had reduced hence the need to drill at least two more boreholes with a depth of at least 80 metres to curb the situation.


    • And then find out that Zesco has LOAD SHEDDING and the pumps cannot work without electricity?

      PF has managed to bring Zambia to its knees through lack of VISION and PLANNING.

      Its Grobal! Its Drought! What RUBBISH! It is a clueless, useless, corrupt and selfish bunch of thieves and looters that have caused Zambias misery!

  1. The water problems are so real in central province .If you visited chief Chamuka’s area 30 miles or more from kabwe town in an area called Kamasasa you will even question whether the Government exists or whether these people have an MP. Iam therefore challenging the government to go and see for themself and prove me wrong.

  2. We should stop cutting down trees indiscriminately. This has progressively reduced the rainbelt. I’m so disheartened by rate of deforestation. Every major road anywhere in Zambia will have a track carrying charcoal any time. Let’s stop blaming climate change from somewhere. This is our own making & we may live to regret. We need to find solutions otherwise this will be countrywide problem. RURAL Electrification & solar solutions need to be supported by GRZ. God demands prudent use of our resources & not carelessness we’re wutnessing

    • With a 35% increase in fuel prices? Because fuel is a monopoly to Government so that these corrupt politicians can add on 50% to the price that Zambians pay to put in their own pockets?

      Get real!

  3. THE DOVE FAILED TO FLY.WHY ARE YOU SURPRISED.Zambia is the worst country seconded by Zimbabwe.The problem of having dunderheads as leaders is that whenever citizens face such disasters,they fail to provide tangible solutions and blame everything on God,what a shame?

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