Located in the city of Ndola, the Itawa Springs is an important tributary to the Kafubu River, which accounts for between 50 and 60 percent of the water supply for both domestic and industrial use for the cities of Ndola, Luanshya and Masaiti.
Despite its huge importance, this precious source of water has been under significant threat due to land degradation and pollution caused by brick-making and unregulated effluent discharge.
A large number of homes, many small-scale farmers and brick-makers depend on the Itawa Springs to meet their general domestic and economic needs, while indirect users include any company or individualsl within its catchment area, including those growing vegetables and crops along the Kafubu River.
Zambian Breweries is one of those industrial users of water from the Itawa water springs, which supplies its Ndola brewery. The company was so concerned at the situation that it approached the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in 2012 to form a partnership between the public sector and community stakeholders.
Duncan Tembo, regional risk control manager at Zambian Breweries, said: “The brewery has been playing two roles in this project; first, as a general stakeholder that has an interest in water protection, and secondly, as a co-sponsor of the project together with the GIZ. The partnership is financially supporting the initiative to rehabilitate the springs as well as relocating the informal community to a new area with improved sanitation facilities and living conditions.”
The affected families have been offered plots to relocate to the Mapalo community by Ndola City Council. However, these families are too poor to build decent and durable houses for themselves in the new allocated area.
Director of corporate affairs at Zambian Breweries Ezekiel Sekele said: “We have partnered with the Habitat For Humanity Zambia (HFHZ) to provide adequate housing and sanitation services for the 28 affected households. The project will deliver two-bedroomed houses with a kitchen, living room and a provision for water and sanitation facilities. Currently, twelve out of the planned 28 houses for community relocation from the core protections zone have been completed, with another fifteen currently at foundation level.”
The relocation process of 28 households uses a multi-sectorial approach involving Zambian Breweries, GIZ, Kafubu Water and Sewerage, and Ndola City Council, in ensuring an effective planning, implementation and monitoring process.
Zambian Breweries managing director Annabelle Degroot said: “Zambian Breweries is a long-standing contributor to Ndola’s economy and provides employment, supports agriculture, and generates revenue for the national budget. It has relied on the spring for a long time.
With the progress made so far, over 55,000 households in the Chipulukusu and Mapalo areas of Ndola have benefited from improved the water resources. Zambian Breweries’ sustainability strategy is embedded throughout its business and across its supply chain.