By Benedict Tembo
Minister of Green Economy and Environment Collins Nzovu says the Magoye ecosystem is under threat as a result of various socio-economic factors.
During the launch of the Magoye Restoration and Protection Plan in Monze District on Monday, Mr Nzovu said that the environmental risks have resulted in disturbance of the normal functioning of the ecosystem, thereby undermining its ability to provide critical services and the related benefits.
He cited the recent floods that affected the people of Central and Southern provinces, particularly those along the banks of the Kafue plains.
The Magoye River Catchment Restoration and Protection Plan is the first of its kind to pursue declaration of a river catchment as a water resource protection area.
Mr Nzovu noted that if no measures are put in place to restore the Magoye River catchment area, alot of people will suffer.
He said this was because the river supports a population of more than 200,000 people and over 400,000 livestock.
Magoye contributes significant flows into the Kafue River.
“Therefore, measures should be taken to preserve the river as it is the source of the water for the people of Pemba, Gwembe, Magoye and Mazabuka districts,” he said.
Mr Nzovu said Government has prioritised the restoration and protection of the Magoye ecosystem with a view to recreate, initiate or accelerate its recovery from disturbance.
He said some of the measures to be undertaken include: revegetation – establishment of vegetation on sites where it has been previously lost; habitat enhancement – increasing stability of a site as habitat for some desired species and remediation – improving an existing ecosystem with the aim of replacing another that has been destroyed.
Mr Nzovu assured traditional leaders and the people of Southern Province that the ministry will enhance the planting of trees along the Magoye River to reduce its further degradation.
Minister of Water Development and Sanitation Mike Mposha said his Ministry will strive to provide quality water to the people of Zambia through the restoration of degraded rivers.
And WWF Zambia Country Director Nachilala Nkombo noted that climate change negatively impacts the ecosystem, economic activities and livelihoods.
She called on local communities to support the restoration plan as it will bring back valuable environmental, social and economic values.
Ms Nkombo said WWF will continue to support desilting efforts of Magoye and transformation of agriculture to sustainable practices.