The government through the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation with support from its cooperating partners have launched the National Water Resources Strategy and Plan aimed at assisting in the sustainable management and utilization of water resources for national socio-economic development.
Speaking at the Launch held in Lusaka, Minister of Water Development and Sanitation Mike Mposha stated that the Strategy and Plan will assist in the sustainable management of the water resource at a time when the country is experiencing extreme effects of climate change.
Mr Mposha said that climate change has evidently adversely compromised the predictability of water availability, water quality and exacerbated the scarcity of water.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation Permanent Secretary Eng. Joe Kalusa, the Minister noted that water is critical to all life and livelihoods, adding that the water sector makes critical contributions to Zambia’s economic growth and development and ultimately, the well-being of all citizens.
Mr Mposha has assured the country that the government through his Ministry will continue to prioritise water resources because it plays a vital role in supporting the social economic pillars such as agriculture, mining, energy and tourism thereby contributing to human development and better health outcomes.
The Minister disclosed that the National Water Resources Strategy and Plan is developed in line with the Eighth National Development Plan (8NDP) pillar on improving water utilization while working towards healthy water ecosystems.
“The Strategy and Plan is anchored on international and national policies and goals including the SDGs 2030 which calls for a sustainable management of the country’s water resources,” he said
Speaking at the same event, the Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) Director General Eng. Kenneth Nyundu expressed concern on the minimal recognition and support the water resources sub sector is receiving from cooperating partners and technocrats.
“Much investments and recognition in the water sector is diverted to water supply and sanitation while the water resource as the bedrock of water supply receives less funding,” he said
The Director General warned that if not properly managed, water resource risk depleting resulting into minimal to no water for domestic use, he has therefore, appealed to the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation to consider the inclusion of catchment protection in various projects and programmes to safeguard Zambia’s water resources for future benefits.
Eng. Nyundu added that the water sector through the Water Resource Management Act, has good provisions that are not being implemented hampering decentralisation of some water resources functions.
“The decentralisation agenda is the panacea for the establishment of catchment councils, sub- catchment councils and water user’s associations,” he said
Meanwhile the European Union (EU) Head of delegation Matthias Reusing said that the EU attaches great importance to the proper management of the water in Zambia because water resources drive the economy.
Mr Reusing mentioned that factors such as population growth have a bearing on the increasing demand for water hence the need to strategize and plan for its effective management and utilization.
The European Union (EU) and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) funded Accelerate Water and Agricultural Resources Efficiency (AWARE) project supported the development of the Strategy to ensure equitable and sustainable utilization of water resources.
In the recent past, water resources have been on the agenda of various local and international key players because of its vital role it plays in unlocking the country’s potential to drive the economy forward. It is evident from the Water Resources Regulator that water resources in Zambia are coming under intense pressure on various fronts.
Numerous factors such as population growth, urbanization, encroachment on headwaters and environmentally unfriendly practices have proven to put water resources on the ledge, more often than not, concerted efforts channeled towards effective management of this resource prudently is of the essence.