Minister of Water Development and Sanitation Mike Mposha has challenged all water utilities in the country to scale up service delivery by improving the treatment of water to required standards.
Mr. Mposha is currently in the Copperbelt Province touring water utilities and its facilities.
Speaking in Kitwe on Tuesday when paying a courtesy-call on Kitwe District Commissioner Lawrence Mwanza at his office, Mr. Mposha said Zambians are demanding clean and safe drinking water.
He said scaling up the supply and treatment of water was imperative especially in the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He stated that President Hakainde Hichilema has placed high premium on the provision of improved water and sanitation services to citizens.
Mr. Mposha later in Kitwe toured projects under Nkana Water Supply and Sanitation Company Limited that services Kitwe City and Kalulushi.
When touring Nkana Water Supply and Sanitation Company facilities, Mr. Mposha asked the firm to increase water supply hours and improve communication to clients.
Mr. Mposha questioned why water utilities continuously send bills to customers who do not receive water.
“Please let us also ensure that we improve our communication with our clients. There has been this issue of accumulative bills in areas where people are not receiving water. To that effect there was a motion on the floor of the house (Parliament) to compel us to cancel the bills on account that from way back in 2006 there are households who have been receiving bills without receiving water,” he said.
“I honestly find it very difficult to understand the reasoning behind this, how you can be receiving bills from 2006 and this is 2021 and you claim that you don’t receive water and you have not gone to NWASCO to raise issues or to go to the utilities. Surely every month you are receiving bills from 2006, I would like to hear from you if truly there are such issues here in Kitwe.”
“We must balance our focus between issues of water supply and also placing emphasis on sanitation. You know that where there is no good sanitation there is a threat to the health of the next person. If people do not have access to good sanitation, they are using pit latrines, which consequently will contaminate ground water. The boreholes will be contaminated and the health sector will be affected,” Mr. Mposha said.
After sounding the warning, Mr. Mposha assured Nkana Water that the government will continue rendering support through grants and chemicals for treating water following an increase in the budgetary allocation to the water sector.
Kitwe District Commissioner Lawrence Mwanza has told Mr. Mposha that vandalism of water infrastructure is rampant in the district saying his office is also working with stakeholders to curb acts of vandalism on water installations.
He said the situation is also coupled with water supply challenges in various parts of Kitwe City.
Meanwhile, in her presentation to the Minister, Nkana Water Managing Director Diana Makwaba highlighted challenges the firm was facing ranging from old dilapidated infrastructure to high customer arrears.
Ms. Makwaba said despite the many challenges that include encroachment of water infrastructure and illegal connections the company is seeking to increase water supply hours per day from 17 to 22 hours.
She appealed to the New Dawn government to consider giving Nkana Water a special electricity tariff and help clear the outstanding Government Bills to ease the operations.
Mr. Mposha started his tour on Monday when visiting Kafubu Water facilities in Ndola and Masaiti in the company of Minister of Transport and Logistics Frank Tayali, Copperbelt Province Minister Elisha Matambo, Roan MP Joel Chibuye, Chifubu MP Lloyd Lubosha, Kafulafuta’s Jeff Mulebwa and Bwana Mkubwa MP Warren Mwambazi.
The group toured the multi million Kafulafuta Water Supply System Project in Masaiti that is expected to facilitate water supply in Ndola, Luanshya, Mpongwe and Masaiti.
“The $449 million water supply system project is 80% complete and once completed it will connect and supply Ndola, Luanshya, Mpongwe and Masaiti districts with clean and safe water and will benefit over 1 million households. Once completed the project will benefit a number of residents in Bwana Mkubwa Constituency with clean and safe water that in many years have experienced water problems,” Mwambazi remarked after touring the dam.