The Water Resource Management Authority (WARMA) has clarified that regulation of Borehole drilling fees and charges are applicable to commercial water users extracting water from either groundwater or rivers for commercial purposes.
WARMA Director-General, Kenneth Nyundu says this applies to uses such as agriculture, hydropower and industry not domestic water users.
General Nyundu observed that the current fees and charges applicable to commercial water users in Zambia are low in comparison to what other countries in the region are charging.
Mr Nyundu said that the fees are not cost reflective as they do not meet the cost of regulating, and monitoring commercial water users to ensure other domestic water users are not disadvantaged.
“Zambia is currently charging K3.80 per 100,000 liters of water,” he said
He added that the fees and charges may in future need to be reviewed to ensure effective management of water resources to avoid disadvantaging communities.
Mr Nyundu has advised the public to take into account that the water user fees and charges do not apply to individual domestic boreholes or non-commercial boreholes.
He alluded that no increment to fees has been proposed by WARMA for permits currently being obtained to drill domestic boreholes and no formal proposal to increase fees currently applicable to commercial waters users.
“The public should ignore the inaccurate report purported by some media houses that WARMA is proposing an increase in Water Tax,” he said
Mr Nyundu elaborated that WARMA regulates the drilling of boreholes through the issuance of permits and the regulation of groundwater is done to ensure sustainable utilization of the water resources and equitable use by all water users which allows for monitoring of both the quality and quantity of water resources.
He further elaborated that in light of the increase in borehole drilling activities, it is of paramount importance that drilling of boreholes is regulated to avoid over-abstraction, depletion, and pollution of groundwater.