President Edgar Lungu has launched Lot 2 of the integrated small towns water supply and sanitation project which he said will ease the sufferings of the people in Mpika and Nakonde districts in Muchinga province when completed.
The President said his administration was aware that good water supply was essential in alleviating poverty and fighting diseases such as dysentery and cholera in Zambia.
President Lungu noted that water plays a critical role in the country’s socio-economic development hence his government decided to facilitate citizens’ easy access to clean and safe water and adequate sanitation services.
“You, the residents of Muchinga province, in particular, Mpika and Nakonde districts have cried to successive governments for help without success. Well, now your prayers have been answered. This project will end the perennial water blues you have suffered from,” he said during the launch of the project in Mpika yesterday.
He reiterated that the supply of clean water to the people of Zambia and good sanitary facilities remained top on the Patriotic Front (PF) government’s development agenda in accordance to the seventh National Development Plan (7NDP).
“In this regard, our target is that all citizens must have access to clean and safe water supply by the year 2030. And also our target is that 90 percent of our population must access sanitation services by the year 2030,” he emphasised.
The President explained that the Lot 2 of the integrated small towns water supply and sanitation project was one of the many projects which his government has embarked on to address challenges of water supply and good sanitation in Zambia.
The Lot 2 integrated small towns water supply and sanitation project, which is jointly financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Zambian government, will gobble US$17 million at its completion.
The project will involve the construction and rehabilitation of water and sanitation infrastructure comprising building water intakes and a water treatment plant at Malashi and the construction of water storage tanks in Chitulika and Kamwanya areas in Mpika district.
Other facilities that will be constructed under the same project include water distribution networks, sewage ponds and sewer networks while existing water infrastructure will undergo rehabilitation.
President Lungu said these installations will result in more residents of Mpika district accessing clean and safe water supply and sanitation services.
“Once the project is completed, it will enable Chambeshi water supply and sanitation company to increase water supply hours from 11 hours to 22 hours to the residents of Mpika district.
The company is also expected to increase water supply coverage to the residents of Mpika district from 45 percent to 95 percent and sanitation services from 25 percent to 40 percent respectively,” he explained.
The Head of State further said the project will also directly employ 650 skilled and unskilled people adding that more jobs will be created in other sectors that will benefit from the improved water supply and sanitation services when the project is completed.
“With this project, I am convinced that there will be improved business opportunities for local contractors and other Zambian contractors and suppliers of goods and services. Local contractors and suppliers will benefit from the 20 percent subcontracting policy, translating into US$3.72 million from the main contract sum of US$17 million,” he said.
And President Lungu said his government has resolved to embark on an aggressive programme to alleviate challenges of water supply through expanding, constructing and developing water infrastructure such as dams, boreholes, and building water schemes.
He said this programme is aimed at countering the threats posed by climate change which he said has caused poor rainfall and reduced water levels in Zambia’s water bodies, a situation that has negatively affected the people.
“My government will continue to provide necessary support to the water sector as we now focus on achieving Sustainable Development Goals and ensure all our people access both water and sanitation. This is not an easy undertaking, but we believe that with support from various stakeholders and cooperating partners, we will achieve this target,” he said.
He has since thanked the African Development Bank for co-financing the Lot 2 integrated small towns water supply and sanitation project saying he was looking forward for more cooperation with and support from the bank in similar projects in future.
President Lungu further thanked other cooperating partners for supporting other various water supply and sanitation projects in the country.
The President has since returned to Lusaka after ending his four-days working visit to Muchinga province.