By Michael Malakata
24th May 2011
After years of poor water supply and sanitation services due to dilapidated infrastructure, government funded water supply rehabilitation projects are expected to improve water supply and sanitation services around the country.
The Zambian government has released over 8 million USD to various water companies around the country to improve water supply and sanitation services.
Various water projects have been started by Southern Water and Sewerage Company (SWASCO), Nkana Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC), Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) and Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company (KWSC) aimed at improving water supply and sanitation. The projects will address the problem of poor water supply and sanitation that the country has been experiencing over the past decade.
Southern Province Minister Elijah Muchima says the grants would enable water companies to carry out emergency water works in order to improve the provision of water supply to urban and peri-urban areas around the country.
“The grants underpin the government’s resolve to invest in water supply infrastructure,” Muchima said May 14 at the launch of the Water rehabilitation project.
Muchima says water companies have been sending distress calls for funding to the government to improve water supply and sanitation around the country. The issue of insufficient funds, Muchima said has been a major challenge as it has led to some parts of bigger and small towns to have inadequate water and sanitation services.
“But we are now determined to accelerate our efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals on water by 2015,” Muchima notes.
SWASCO board chairperson Solomon Muzyamba says the grants being given by the government will help in addressing the challenges of water supply and sanitation services delivery that the company has been facing due to insufficient funds.
“From the grant, SWASCO will lay a new water network to replace the old one and will procure a new motor to equip the old unused raw water intake at the Zambezi River to ensure that the added demand for water was met by the existing water treatment plant and distribution network,” reveals Muzyamba.
The water companies have for a long time been claiming they are not making enough revenue from water supply services, accusing the Zambian government of failing to settle water bills owed to the companies by government ministries and departments.
The projects are the first major water projects that the Zambian government has embarked on using locally sourced money after the Danish government decided to halt financing water projects in the country last year.