Archive for March, 2014

March 21, 2014

2014 World Water Day Theme To Spur Increased Links Between Water And Energy Sectors In SADC

Barbara Lopi
March 21, 2014

As the international community commemorates the 2014 World Water Day tomorrow, March 22 whose theme is Water and Energy, Member States in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) should consider the occasion as an added opportunity in their efforts towards improved, combined and coordinated management of water and energy.

World Water Day (WWD) is an international event which is held every year on 22 March to focus global attention on the importance of water and the need for sustainable management of the resource.

WWD 2014 Logo

WWD 2014 Logo

The goal for this year’s WWD is to encourage increased awareness among decision-makers, inside and outside the water and energy domains, as well as stakeholders and practitioners about the interlinkages, potential synergies and trade-offs. Furthermore, the goal of this year’s theme is to highlight the need for appropriate responses and regulatory frameworks that account for both water and energy priorities.

The theme, water and energy, therefore, challenges national governments and other stakeholders to collectively address the water-energy nexus, particularly addressing inequities, especially for the majority who are struggling to survive without access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, sufficient food and energy services.

One of the overarching key messages behind the 2014 WWD theme of water and energy is that, “water requires energy and energy requires water”. This is because water is required to produce energy and energy is needed for the extraction, treatment, and distribution of water as well as its collection and treatment after use.

Clean water shortage affects the lives of individuals and the vitality of entire communities

Clean water shortage affects the lives of individuals and the vitality of entire communities

The water and energy sectors are closely interlinked and interdependent, hence the need for more integrated planning and crosscutting frameworks that will bridge ministries and sectors, leading the way to interlinked energy security and sustainable water use.

The SADC region which comprises of Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, has more than 40 per cent of its Member States having water and energy sectors sitting in one ministry, thereby facilitating sectoral linkages.

The growing demand for limited water supplies in the SADC Member States put increasing pressure on water intensive energy producers to seek alternative approaches, especially in areas where energy is competing with other major water users such as agriculture, manufacturing, drinking water and sanitation services for cities. Furthermore, with increasing climate variability, many parts of the region will start to experience water restrictions in their uses to maintain healthy ecosystems.

In October last year, delegates from SADC Member States who were attending the 6th SADC Multi-Stakeholder Water Dialogue held under the theme, Watering Development in SADC: Exploring the Water, Energy and Food Nexus acknowledged the interlinks between water and energy and called for more practical interventions to facilitate breaking down the culture of working in sectoral silos towards integrated planning and implementation of development programmes.

The delegates noted that while policy instruments existed at the SADC regional level which took cognizance of the nexus approach, such as the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the SADC Regional Water Policy, more practical interventions were needed to break the practice of working in silos.

Other fundamental frameworks that are in place to ease coordination and integrated planning between the water and energy sectors in the SADC region are the revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses, and the Southern African vision for water, life and the environment.

Competition for water resources is perceived by a majority of countries to have increased over the past 20 years

Competition for water resources is perceived by a majority of countries to have increased over the past 20 years

As the region will be joining the rest of the world in commemorating the 2014 World Water Day, activities that will improve understanding of the connections and effects that the water and energy sectors have on each other should be promoted to facilitate improved coordination in planning and subsequently result in optimized investments and reduction in inefficiencies.

Integrated approaches and solutions to water-energy issues can achieve greater economic and social impacts, hence governments need to be encouraged to create enabling environments to foster greater coordination between the water and energy domains. – Barbara Lopi is the communications and Awareness Expert in the Water Sector at the SADC Secretariat.

March 21, 2014

Kenya: Low Knowledge Levels On Water and Integrity Reported, Despite Huge Funding In the Sector

Mary Mwendwa
March 21, 2014

Many Kenyans have no idea of where to get quality services on water related issues despite the huge financing the sector has attracted in the recent times; Water experts have noted.

Climate change phenomena and poor planning and pollution are some of the factors that have left many Kenyan’s taps dry.

For example, in Nairobi town, 20 years ago, the city had clean and safe drinking water for its small population by then. With a current population of 3 million, with a majority of its population living in informal settlements, clean, affordable and regular water is no longer guaranteed to these people. Water cartels have flooded the water market, making the basic commodity expensive for people.

In Kibera, one of Kenya’s largest slums, water goes for 10sh per 50 kg container. A price that many say is far too high depending on the water they need to use in a given day.

Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya

Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya

According to Athi Water Services Board, a body that is mandated to oversee water supply in Nairobi, informal settlements are yet to be incorporated in their plans. They say many dwellers in the sector cannot afford the connection fee for water supply .They however, add they are working with partners like World Bank who to see how these people will be placed in the water connection plans of the city.

Agnes kyoli, a mother of three in her late 30s,who lives in one of Nairobi suburbs, Kasarani, complains, “I only get water three times per week in my house, any it only flow very late at night. This means that I have to cut down on my sleep and spent almost the whole night fetching this precious commodity. My bill of 800 ksh per month remains the same. I have no idea who to complain to. I am now used to this water problem.”Same sentiments are echoed by her neighbor who seemed so annoyed with the whole issues.

Prof. Munguti says the water sector is facing huge challenges that without proper legislation more and more taps will still run dry in the country. So much water is lost to unscrupulous dealers with illegal connections.”We need a law that will regulate all these and also the law should be able to reduce the number of too many water regulatory bodies which confuse the public on their roles and mandates. I believe these many bodies might be just another hub for corrupt individuals who will always play blame games as people suffer.”

He also notes how County governments have a major role to play on water sector. “Counties can come up with their own water use plans and supply enough water to their people without any problems,” he concludes.

More than half the diseases worldwide are caused by dirty water like the one above.

More than half the diseases worldwide are caused by dirty water like the one above.

During a tour that was aimed at collecting views from people about the proposed water bill 2013, many people had less information on where to access water information. “For example in Coast province, knowledge on water was too low as compared to other regions in the country. In western human rights and water integrity was the hottest issue among the community members.

In Tana River district they had issues with national regulatory body which manages water in the region. All these are just some of the indicators that give us an overview of how many Kenyans have less information regarding water accessibility,” Prof.Munguti Katua, Centre For Social Planning administration Development (CESPAD) says.

The Kenya water Act 2002,spearheaded more resource generation , government commitment and development partners which has resulted in a proposed water Bill 2013 which is still being worked on.

Water Resource Users Associations (Wruas) with their current functions of equal distribution and sustainable use of water is among the success stories , the water sector has managed to come up with.

These are eight regional Water Services Boards (WSBs) in charge of asset management through Service Provision Agreements (SPAs). The Act also created a national regulatory board (WASREB) that carries out performance benchmarking and is in charge of approving SPAs and tariff adjustments. The Ministry of Water and Irrigation is in charge of policies for water supply and the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation is in charge of policies for sanitation.

The Bill however, points out areas of major concerns; unclear mandates, where citizens are not able to hold the government to account, appointments to the bodies, where there is limited cushioning of the institutions from political interference by appointing authorities.

To improve on governance in the sector, it recommends; a defined framework for monitoring, evaluation and reporting for the proposed institutions and devolved structures so as to encourage information sharing in public participation in decision making and a need to plan for frequent water forums by stakeholders , where water issues would be discussed and recommended.

March 11, 2014

Zambia to Hold First African Water Integrity Summit

Wallace Mawire
March 11, 2014

Zambia will on April 29 to 30, 2014 host the first African water integrity summit.The summit “Accelerating towards a Water Secure World” takes place in Lusaka, Zambia.

Hosted by UNDP-Water Governance Facility, The Water Integrity Network, UNDP/Cap-Net, WaterNet and the Stockholm International Water Institute, the summit marks the conclusion of a successful three-year regional integrity training programme in Sub-Saharan Africa.

SIWI Logo

SIWI Logo

The programme successfully trained more than 400 stakeholders across 36 countries, the impact of which will be documented and analyzed at the summit, in order to further disseminate practical insights on how to respond to misconduct in the water sector.

Gathering water sector stakeholders from Western, Southern and Eastern Africa to exchange knowledge and experiences, the conference aims to encourage and stimulate dialogue on learning how corruption can be addressed in the water sector at a regional and national level.

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

The purpose of the summit is to share know-how, experiences, successful tools and challenges when implementing water integrity action plans. It will contribute to building political ownership for water integrity practice, assess the gaps and develop a way forward for further enhancing integrity in the water sector.

March 11, 2014

Zambia: Government Formulates a 3-Year Strategy to Improve Water Resource Infrastructure

Newton Sibanda
April 11, 2014

The Zambian government has formulated a strategic plan to improve water resource infrastructure covering 2013 to 2016, Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma has said.

Mr Yaluma says Government’s vision is to increase access to water and sanitation to over 80 percent by 2016 for both rural and urban areas.

Zambia’s Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma

Zambia’s Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma

He was speaking in Lusaka during a national stakeholders’ consultative meeting on water hosted by Global Water Partnership Southern Africa.

The proportion of population with access to safe water supply in rural areas stands at 66 percent and 82 percent for urban areas, while the proportion of population with access to adequate sanitation in rural and urban areas stands at 51 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

Mr Yaluma said Government will also develop skills to ensure effective water resource management and efficient provision of reliable and safe water and sanitation services.

“We will provide a long-term implementation framework for water-related programmes in the national development plans,” the minister said.

Mr Yaluma said Government has created an enabling environment through the development of the revised national water policy of 2010 and the Water Resources Management Act of 2011.

He said the Water Resources Management Act provides legal and institutional frameworks for the water sector.

A water Kiosk in Ndirande Malawi. In places without access to clean water children and walk long distances, use dirty water from ponds and rivers or they are charged large amounts of money by water sellers.

A water Kiosk in Ndirande Malawi. In places without access to clean water children and walk long distances, use dirty water from ponds and rivers or they are charged large amounts of money by water sellers.

Mr Yaluma is also happy that the development of the water and sanitation policy by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has advanced.

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