Posts tagged ‘science’

October 14, 2012

EU-Funded Water and Sanitation Projects in Africa Not Sustainable, Say Auditors

Newton Sibanda
October 14, 2012

The majority of the water and sanitation projects funded by the European Union (EU) in six African countries are not sustainable, says the European Court of Auditors (ECA).

The European Commission (EC) maintains that most of the audited projects were approved before it had implemented quality control reforms.

The ECA)- EU’s spending watchdog, reviewed 23 projects in Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania. The projects represent an investment of over 400 million euro of which the EU provided 219 million euro. Total EU spending on water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa between 2001 and 2010 amounts to over 1 billion euro.

In their report, the auditors warn that the majority of projects will not be sustainable unless non-tariff revenue is ensured and institutional weaknesses are addressed. Less than half of the projects examined delivered results meeting the beneficiaries’ needs.

Vice chairman of the European Parliament’s International Development Committee Nirj Deva called the ECA report a “stinging rebuke” which “must act as a wake-up call for the Commission”. “This kind of sloppiness gives it [EU aid] a bad name”, Deva said.

Vice chairman of the European Parliament’s International Development Committee Nirj Deva

The response of the Commission, published as an annex in the ECA report, “is largely disappointing”, says IRC Programme Officer Stef Smits. The data presented in the report “would call for a more profound reflection on the approach taken”, he added.

The auditors also criticize the Commission for not making good use of its existing procedures to increase the sustainability of EU-funded projects. When asked whether projects approved after 2005, when the EC implemented quality support groups (QSG), were more sustainable, ECA Member David Bostock replied it was too early to tell.

September 10, 2012

Zimbabwe: Bulawayo’s Water Woes Not Waning Soon

Busani Bafana
September 10, 2012

Residents of Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo, have since last week been going without water for 72 hours under a programme to save dwindling supplies which at current consumption rates may see the city of more than 1 million people running dry.

Though used to scarce water supplies, Bulawayo residents have a new reason to worry about poor sanitation and an outbreak of diseases. Poor water supplies and sanitation programme in a number of cities in Zimbabwe led to a major cholera outbreak which killed more than 4000 people between 2008 and 2009. This year, the country has reported more than 3000 cases of typhoid.

The Bulawayo City Council is now cutting off water to households for 72 hours up from 48 hours, in a move Bulawayo residents fear is a ticket to a health crisis as good sanitation is compromised.

City authorities citing shrinking water levels in the remaining three supply dams and high daily water use by residents, this week tighten a tough water shedding programme introduced in July 2012.

Water shedding in Bulawayo is an additional measure to a standing water rationing programme that restricts domestic consumers to 300 and 350 litres a day in the high and low income areas, respectively. But efforts meant to encourage the saving of precious supplies through a planned programme are also leading to water wastage. Residents often have disposed of previously stored water and the frequent bursts in the city’s aged pipe network which have increased by 50 percent have not helped the situation.

“At first it was hard to accepted water shedding because two days were serious, not this is worse,” complained Cuthbert Nyoni, a Bulawayo resident who lives in Pelandaba suburb which has experienced the new water shedding schedule.

Residents of Bulawayo fetch water from a borehole

The city council has also formed a multi-stakeholder Water Crisis Committee headed by the Mayor to monitor the water crisis, recommend solutions, provide materials and expertise to manage the situation. In addition, has issued a notice on the water quality, urging residents to allow water to settle depending on its quality and to boil all borehole water.

Residents and sanitation professionals warn the city could be inviting serious health problems, not to mention, hoarding as a result of new measures to save water, a problem that has dogged the Bulawayo since it was founded over 100 years ago.

The water saving regime, while meant to save the city from growing dry will in the long term expose the city in the event of disease outbreak.

Senior Public Relations Officer, Nesisa Mpofu, says the city council has provided water bowsers with a capacity of at least 7000 litres as a stand to supply residential areas with water in case the shedding takes longer than the intended three days.

“Bowsers will also serve areas that are affected by bursts or low pressure during the non-water shedding hours,” Mpofu said adding the provision of bowsers was to help prevent the outbreak of diseases.

But some residents are not sure the stringent water shedding is working.

“I am not sure this decision is indeed saving water,” Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association, spokesman, Roderick Fayayo said. “To save water for three days, you need more containers and often when supplies are restored, the water is brown and people throw it away. There is need to discuss this issue further as we run a huge risk of a disease outbreaks.”

Data compiled by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme shows that Zimbabwe’s national targets are 80 percent for rural sanitation, 100 percent for urban sanitation, and 100 percent for rural and urban water supply.

Based on the most recent estimates of sanitation coverage in 2010, Zimbabwe needs to increase coverage from 52 to 77 percent in urban areas and from 32 to 68 percent in rural areas to meet the Millennium Development Goals, the eight international anti-poverty and development goals that the United Nations member states agreed to achieve by the year 2015.

The current restrictions are a reflection of the magnitude of the problem faced by the city, said sanitation expert, Lovemore Mujuru, who is also the Deputy Director of the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development, a non-governmental organisation.

“From a sanitation perspective, it [water shedding] has potential risks that will need to be managed,” said Mujuru. “Our sewer is water borne and if there is no water, we have to resort to the pour flow method-this means residents going out of their way to find alternative sources of water as a coping mechanism. Also hygiene is greatly compromised which gives potential risks of disease outbreaks.”

Mujuru urged the city council to engage the residents to understand the basis of the tough decisions regarding water provision, given the nation-wide challenges related to water.

“We are just emerging from a very difficult period where things had literally collapsed-so even if people have a right to water but if the water is not there, you take somebody to court but it will not immediately bring water on the table –what is important in the current scenario is the concept of progressive realisation of rights-dialogue is the key so that both residents, business and BCC work together towards resolving the challenges,” he said.

However, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Water Resources Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, last week downplayed the urgency of the water situation in Bulawayo, saying Harare and other cities have faced worse. Nkomo told councillors during a meeting in the council chambers that the situation did not warrant declaring Bulawayo a state of disaster.

A short term solution to the water woes remains a pipedream with a planned pipe link to the Mtshabezi Dam, south of the City which was expected to give the some water by end of July now anticipated to be complete by Christmas.

September 8, 2012

Malawi: Saving Water Kiosks from Political Interference

George Mhango
Blantyre, Malawi
September 08,2012

Each time a new political party wins a parliamentary seat, some communities in Ndirande, Blantyre know it is that time once again that ugly political bickering hogs dominance of water Kiosks in their constituency.

Communities would be denied their basic green right to portable and safe piped water at the kiosks – their political inclination can be the only unforgivable sin they have committed.

This is a community structure, which becomes politically prone and a game play at the expense of people’s health or call it life and effective service delivery.

Snap interviews with some people unveiled that among other things, once a new committee loyal to the winning MP is formed and takes over the kiosk – It runs a risk of being either damaged and or completely closed down during protests by the outgoing members who are against the regime change.

One of the water Kiosks in Ndirande Malawi where ownership is a problem

They said the worst scenario can be water disconnection due to unsettled bills by the previous committee, which could have performed on assumptions, that their parliamentarian will settle the bills.

Blantyre City Central parliamentarian, Eunice Makanga says about 10 000 USD was left by the previous committee in her area. She however adds the present committee ensures that politics does not take centre stage.

“Through the new committee, we agreed with Blantyre Water Board (BWB) to settle the unsettled bill in bits,” she says.

In addition, there are job losses of a community loyal to the outgoing member of Parliament. However, Jim and Bettie like any other community members are the ultimate victims caught in such dirty political mudslinging prevalent in such water kiosks mainly in the cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe.

Women depend on few boreholes

The Ndirande-Malabada saga, speaks volumes of how politics can affect service delivery, where 103 new recruited water attendants from 80 kiosks were sacked apparently by People’s Party loyalists.

Attendants Mebo Kambilonjo, Dorothy Mahefu and Grace Maganda from Ndirande Malabada confirmed recently to the media of being sacked for allegedly belonging to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The People’s Party (PP) deputy publicity, Ken Msonda did not deny attributing the trend to political change. He said however, the party was resolving the matter.

“Politicians will consolidate their power–and they will make sure their party members control kiosks. Either they employ and or give them most strategic positions,” Grace Nyimbiri, a community member says.

According to Andrew Mbewe, the Supervisor of Ndirande Malabada Water Users Association (WUA), DPP followers claim no one would stop them now because it is their time to have the benefits.
“They have been selling water at exorbitant prices. But where the proceeds go, is no body’s business,” Mbewe alleges.

The Water Kiosks Project was rolled out to provide access to clean and affordable drinking water to low-income earners and in communities which do not have the capacity to basic domestic supply network such as water tapes at household level.

To ensure communal water kiosks management, a best practice model under the Water Users Association (WUA) which is all inclusive of stakeholders from religious, political, traditional, and ordinary members was developed.

Under WUAs, at least 280 000 people in Lilongwe have access to potable water from the water kiosks from the initial target of 800 000. And in Blantyre, about 90 to 150 households depend on 424 water kiosks.

WUA’s run about 60 percent of kiosks in Lilongwe whilst about 18 percent are run through the Private and Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement – and 22 percent of them are run by the board.

While as Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) public relations officer, Trevor Phoya notes that political interference is minimal in Lilongwe, it is only the contrary in Malawi’s commercial hub, Blantyre.

Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) public relations officer, Trevor Phoya

“The board has engaged the community to understand that water is for everyone. And the continued public awareness on settling water bills has been critical in our messaging to ensure sustainable services,” according to Innocent Mbvundula, public relations officer for Blantyre Water Board (BWB).

The BWB and LWB is constructing 363 and 372 Water Kiosks respectively with support from the National Water Development Programme (NWDP) in the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development which received funding from the European Union and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The project of water kiosks also take place in Southern Region, Central Region and Northern Region Water Boards with a different financier and there are no cases of political interferences random interviews with management of such boards show.

Further, the rehabilitation of Walkers Ferry and Chileka pumping stations in BWB will increase production and sustainable supply to 105 million liters per day from 86 million liters per day.

Although, UN statistics show Lilongwe meeting MDG seven on ensure environmental sustainability which also seeks to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015, local NGOs think otherwise.

It is argued that the UN statistics tend to understate the extent of water supply and sanitation challenges which is to a larger extent, hampered by insufficient monitoring strategies of either the population or its coverage.

The bottom line however is, increased public awareness against political interference will resuscitate the hope for sustainable water supply at household level and community involvement to look after their water resources and their communal Kiosks.

And that 70% of multi-sectoral efforts would have scaled up on proper water and Sanitation by 2015, accordingly with the MDG goal number seven.

August 31, 2012

Zambia: Harvesting Rainwater

Newton Sibanda
August 31, 2012

RAINWATER Harvesting (RWH) has been a practiced since time in memorial. It has, however, been practiced at different levels- domestic and agricultural use, which are referred to as the blue and green water use respectively.

However, Zambia Rainwater Harvesting Association (ZRHA) Secretary General Bob Muzyamba says the scale of utilization of RWH in Zambia’ leaves a lot to be desired’. “Since 1998, Zambia has been involved in many meetings, workshops, collaborations and protocols relating to RWH in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region to respond to the effects of the drought hitting the region.

The Ministry of Agriculture together with the Ministry of Local Government and Housing as well as the Ministry of Energy and Water Development were engaged by the Zambia Rainwater Harvesting Association to explore ways of enhancing the utilization of RWH as an appropriate technology for the effective use of water as a resource,” said Muzyamba.

Men constructing a water tank in Uganda for rainwater harvesting

Zambia has been experience erratic rain fall partners for the past 10 years which have affected the predictability of the rain pattern and planning.

Muzyamba says the association has tried to align itself with Government policy to ensure that the knowledge and skills reposed in it can be recognized and utilized. “There is a huge potential of Rainwater Harvesting in Zambia in all regions or zones. The potential is in flood control and drought control on one part, and water conservation on the other part,” he said.

Muzyamba is also acting president of the association following the demise of the incumbent, Joyce Musiwa, in line with the organization’s constitution.

The level of activity in rainwater harvesting in Zambia is very low and isolated, the commonest type being the traditional one where families draw water falling from roof tops in drums of 200-210 liters capacity for short term use. The families usually do this without realizing that they are actually practicing rain water harvesting. In its formal state, the technology is quite novel though it has existed for a longtime. A typical formal system involves the use of gutters on buildings like schools and hospitals.

Though its downside is limited application, institutional rainwater harvesting is quite effective. While the collection of rainwater by a single household may not be significant, the impact of thousand or even millions of household rainwater storage tanks can be enormous.

The frequency of droughts in recent years and the resultant problem of food insecurity therefore provide an imperative for scaling up rainwater harvesting in Zambia.

August 22, 2012

Ethiopia Receives New Boost of Investment in Sanitation and Hygiene

Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)
Water Journalists Africa Network
August 22, 2012

Ethiopia will receive an additional boost from the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) which officially announced a US$ 5 million investment through its Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) to help the government of Ethiopia achieve its Universal Access Plan in Sanitation and Hygiene.

The programme announced by WSSCC is part of the country’s wider national development vision, in which it pledges to “pave the path for all Ethiopians to have access to basic sanitation by 2015”. The Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Programme was launched today at a high profile event in the presence of senior dignitaries, decision makers and civil society representatives, in the Ethiopian capital – Addis Ababa.

Progress made over the past decade especially on improving access to water sources, signals the political traction that the Ethiopian government and its partners have given to the development of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector – which plays a critical role in improving the quality of life of its citizens. From 2005 to 2008, access to potable water in rural areas increased from 35 percent to 52 percent. However, despite positive trends in access to improved water sources, millions of Ethiopians continue to experience difficulties in accessing clean and safe water and sanitation facilities.

Global Sanitation Fund Logo

Enshrined within the country’s Growth and Transformation Program (GTD), the Government has in the past decade increasingly recognized the hampering effects of poor sanitation and hygiene on its wider development efforts – such as community health, eradication of poverty and economic advancement. Seeking to increase the financial investment in the sector, the GSF-funded programme will support the Government’s existing national Health Extension Program (HEP) to help address health issues linked to sanitation and hygiene.

In total, the programme will help 1.7 million people to gain use of improved toilets over the next five years, and 3.2 million people will be living in open defecation free environments.

“The GSF is delighted by the opportunity to support the Ethiopian government vision of an open defecation free country by 2015. This programme will need to pay close attention to gender, physical accessibility issues due to age, illness, accident or disability, as well as geographically or otherwise excluded groups in order to ensure that no one is left unserved in GSF programme areas”, said Archana Patkar, head of the WSSCC delegation in Addis Ababa.

The three-year programme worth US$ 5 million aims to strengthen institutional capacity in forty woredas to increase access to and use of sanitation facilities. With an initial focus on four regions namely Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s region (SNNPR).

As part of the WSSCC, the Global Sanitation Fund has been established to boost expenditure on sanitation and hygiene in countries that meet strict criteria based on their specific needs and have an existing national sanitation policy and programme which requires further investment.

The GSF is supported by the Governments of Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In principle and in practice, the GSF respects national leadership, targets poor and unserved communities and expands coverage. The GSF is already actively working in Uganda, Madagascar,Senegal, Cambodia, Tanzania, Malawi, India and Nepal.

August 22, 2012

Six Journalists Win Prestigious Media Awards Geared Towards Improving Reporting On Water, Sanitation

Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)
Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
August 21st, 2012

Six journalists have been named as winners of the “WASH Media Awards” competition for their excellence in reporting on water, sanitation and hygiene-related (WASH) issues.

The journalists and their winning entries are:
• Alain Tossounon (Benin): “Access to safe water in the town of Ava-Sô, A perilous conquest for survival.” (Accès à l’eau potable dans la commune de Sô-Ava, Une conquête périlleuse pour la survie.)
• Ngala Killian Chimtom (Cameroon): “The Taps Have Run Dry”
• Berta Tilmantaite (Lithuania): “The River Runs Back”
• Francis Odupute (Nigeria): “The Strategists”
• Francesca de Châtel (Belgium): “Water Around the Mediterranean”
• Ketan Trivedi (India): “Alchemy of Earning Money through Wastes and Making a Village Clean, Hygienic and Lovely”

The winners will receive their awards during a ceremony, on 31 August 2012 at the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. During the World Water Week, the journalists will share their experiences on reporting WASH issues with leading water, sanitation, environment and development experts reporting during different session throughout the week.

Media in general and journalists in particular are key partners for sanitation, hygiene and water sector professionals in their awareness raising, advocacy and behaviour change work. Journalists play a central role in the highlighting of water and gender related issues and positioning of women as environmental leaders. They greatly contribute to bringing in the spotlight the too often neglected issues of the necessity of toilets and hand washing for a dignified, safe and healthy life for billions of people. The WASH Media Awards, organized by SIWI and WSSCC, two leading sector organizations, take a clear stand that it is not only necessary, but vital.

SIWI’s Acting Executive Director, Mr. Per Bertilsson, highlighted the importance of the WASH Awards in recognizing and promoting professional journalistic ingenuity in covering WASH stories.

“The winning entries for the 2011-2012 WASH Media Awards reflect an excellent example of how journalists could creatively bring underreported stories to the surface. These stories will inspire many in our sector to engage in new interventions, as they offer new perspectives on solving issues related to water supply, sanitation and hygiene,” he said. The winners will be able to share their stories at three different sessions during the 2012 World Water Week, which takes place between the 26th and 31st of August, 2012.

The bi-annual WASH Media Awards competition is sponsored by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). More than 150 entries from 40 countries were evaluated by a jury chaired by: Mr. Mark Tran, a notable international correspondent for The Guardian, UK. The jury included Mrs. Faz da Hall, Executive Producer Channel Africa, SABC, South Africa, Mr. Jon Sawyer, Executive Director, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, USA. Mr. Olivier Nyirubugara, Senior Trainer Voices of Africa Media Foundation, Rwanda/Netherlands and Ms. Vinaya Deshpande, The Hindu, India. The jury praised this year’s entries for their journalistic excellence, investigative ability, and originality.

August 21, 2012

Three SADC Journalists Awarded for excellence in water reporting

Barbara Lopi in Maputo
August 21st, 2012

Six winners of the 2012 SADC Media Awards have been announced and presented with a prize of US$2000.00 each during the opening ceremony of the 32nd Heads of State and Government SADC Summit in Maputo, Mozambique.

Incoming Chairperson of SADC, President Armando Emelio Guebuz of Mozambique presented the awards to the winners. Three of the Awards are for excellence on reporting on water resources management in the region, and the other three are for excellence in promoting regional integration in SADC.

Mr. Factmore Dzobo from the Chronicles Newspaper in Zimbabwe received the Award in the Print Water category, for his report on the importance of involving women in the management of water.

The Award in the Radio Water category went to Mr. Belmiro Timoteo Mangaze from Mozambique for his report on the importance of water in regional and national development.

Lesotho Times photo journalist Mr. Ramajake Walter Monamane received the Photo Water Award for his photos depicting the plight of people in a village in Lesotho for clean, safe and potable drinking water.

The Awards for excellence in the coverage of water resources management was introduced in 2007 by the SADC Water Sector programme to enhance awareness raising on water issues within the region, as well as to encourage journalists to write about Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

The Awards for excellence in promoting regional integration in SADC went to Mr. Yobe Shonga from Botswana for the Photo category; Mr. Patson Phiri from Zambia for the Print category, and Mr. Jugdish Parsadee Jatoo from Mauritius for the Television category.

August 21, 2012

Zambia: Up to 4.081 Billion USD Needed to Provide Reliable Water Supply

Newton Sibanda
August 20th, 2012

Zambia’s commercial water utility companies need an investment worth US$4.081 billion in the next 29 years as a roadmap to provide reliable water supply to both urban and peri-urban areas, a latest Urban and Peri-urban Water Supply and Sanitation sector report has revealed.

In order to address the investment gap in the National Urban Water Supply and Sanitation programme, Government developed the National Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (NUWSSP).

Having access to safe water and basic sanitation is vital to everyone’s life

The programme is a roadmap to providing potable and reliable water supply and adequate sanitation services for both urban and peri-urban dwellers countrywide.

According to the 2011/2012 Urban and Peri-Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Report, NUWSSP tabulated investment needs for the water companies for the period 2011-2030 whose investment costs were estimated at US$4.081 billion.

The latest report launched by National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (Nwasco) over the weekend states that although K254 billion was invested in the sector in 2011 by Government and cooperating partners, this was less than what was budgeted for in that particular year.

“This was far from adequate when compared to a requirement of K969 billion (US$190 million) NUWSSP estimates needed to overhaul the dilapidated infrastructure countrywide,” the report indicates.

However, only K94 billion was disbursed to the 11 commercial water utilities countrywide.

The report further revealed that during the year under review, Chambeshi Water and Sewerage Company was given K3.1 billion for Nakonde water supply improvement works and procurement of pumps for Kasama, Mpika and Luwingu districts.

Eastern Water and Sewerage Company received K2 billion for supplementary works in the phase I of the Germany- funded projects which involved network extensions and metering in Petauke, Lundazi, Mambwe and Chama districts.

Southern Water and Sewerage Company got K9.6 billion for water supply improvements in Nega-nega-Mazabuka, Kashitu compound-Livingstone,Lusitu-Siavonga, Pemba and Mbabala-Choma.

And Western Water and Sewerage Company was given K5 billion for water supply network, building kiosks, setting up communal taps and drilling boreholes in Sichili and Mwandi. At the launch of the water utilities performance report, North-Western Water and Sewerage Company (NWWSC) was awarded the best performing Commercial Utility .
The 2011/2012 Urban and Peri-Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Report which highlights the comparative performance of all commercial utilities in the country and published by NWASCO, ranked North-Western Water and Sewerage Company (NWWSC) first, while Western Water and Sewerage Company is at the bottom(11th)

Several people living in such places are not aware that poor sanitation may cause lot of diseases

Launching the 2011/12 Urban and Peri-Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Report at Lusaka at Intercontinental Hotel August 2012, Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister, Yamfwa Mukanga reiterated government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for investment in the water supply and sanitation sub-sector.

Mr Mukanga noted that compared to the previous year, the sector has recorded positive trends as observed by the increase in water and sanitation coverage as well as improved metering and water quality. The national urban water coverage now stands at 81.8 percent from 77.5 percent, serving 4,596,959 people while the national urban sanitation coverage remains low at 56.7 percent from 54.1 percent.

He further noted NWASCO’s concerns of power outages that have continued to affect the operations of water utility companies resulting in poor service delivery.

And Local Government and Housing Minister, Emerine Kabanshi who also graced the event noted government’s plan to reduce the imbalances in performance of utility companies. “A situation whereby a utility company is performing better in water supply and badly in the provision of sanitation services or vice versa is not a healthy one at all.”

Ms Kabanshi expressed concern at the low sanitation coverage in the country which stands at 56.7percent compared to water coverage which is at 81.8 percent in urban and peri-urban areas. She called for comprehensive and concerted efforts and investment from all sector players.

And NWASCO board chairman Levi Zulu noted that the country had recorded an improvement in the provision of water and sanitation services and attributed the improvements to adherence to service level indicators.

Mr Zulu however observed that there is need to focus on the challenging indicators, among them, low collections especially by Government institutions, high unaccounted for water (UfW), dilapidated and inadequate infrastructure, unprecedented numerous power outages and poor customer relations and complaint resolution rate.

“The sector has continued to show positive progression in most performance indicators as can be seen from the report. One notable and cardinal improvement is the increase in the number of people with access to water supply.”

Mr Zulu however said greater leaps must be made to meet the ultimate goal of universal coverage for water supply and sanitation services.
In recognizing excellence in performance, North-Western Water and Sewerage Company emerged the Overall Best Performing water utility while Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company was the runner up.

Eastern Water and Sewerage Company was voted the Best Performing utility in Peri-Urban while Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company was the Most Improved commercial utility.
Meanwhile in the water and sanitation media awards, Zambia Daily Mail’s Violet Mengo emerged winner in the print category.

In the electronic category, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Senior Journalist Micheal Kaumba scoped the best TV package while the best Radio report went to Cynthia Mukwasa Bwalya of Christian Voice.

The most consistent water supply and sanitation reporter went to Muvi TV’s Bangwe Naviley.

August 1, 2012

Tanzania: Severe Water Shortage Hits Parts of the Country

Paul Mallimbo
July 31, 2012

Severe shortage of water in small town of Maganzo, in Songwa ward, Kishapu District in Shinyanga region, has caused residents to carry water when they are going for treatment at Maganzo Clinic.

Patients are forced to carry between one and three 20 liter gallons, depending on the need of water to that particular patient.

Pupils collecting water in Uganda. In every society, water , health and education are closely inter-related

The survey conducted by our reporter in most parts of the district established that most patients carry water and kerosene when they go to this dispensary.

Speaking to journalists, the Maganzo Village Chairman, Lwinzi Kidiga said, it is true that this dispensary has no water and all people who are going to seek treatment from this clinic should carry their own water.

“We have instructed all the Maganzo residents to carry their own water when they are going for treatment at the Maganzo dispensary, “he said.

However, the village chairman said that, residents have also been instructed to carry their own kerosene when they go for medical care at night in order to light when patient is receiving treatment, because the clinic has no electricity.

A girl child returns from collecting water in a shallow well in western Uganda.

The acting Kishapu District Executive Director, Lucas Said, acknowledges the situation, adding that, water problem is a big problem to the entire district.

“Water shortage is not only in Maganzo District, but in most of the areas of Shinyanga region but efforts are being done to ensure that there is availability of water in all areas of Kishapu District, he added.

Said explains that, experts are now doing research in various villages within the district to find out where they can find water, while a big plan to bring water from Lake Victoria is in pipeline.

Meanwhile the Maganzo Village Chairman says that they had discussion with the investor of Williams Diamond Mines, to help them bring water in the village, and has accepted to start the project end of July this year.

July 16, 2012

Kenya: Rivers on Verge of Drying Up as Degradation of Chepsir Forest Soars

Mary Mwendwa
July 16, 2012

Residents of Chepsir Tea zone settlement scheme cry foul over the effects of human-wildlife conflict, logging and charcoal burning on conservation efforts of the Chepsir forest in Kenya.

The famous forest is located in the South Western part of Mau block in Chepsir village, Kepkelion district in Kericho County.

Chepsir Tea Zone Settlement Scheme came into existence in 1962 after the British colonial government sold land to Kenyan government which later sold to people through Brookbond group of companies that practice tea farming in the region.

A section of Chepsir Forest southwestern Mau

Despite the Mau restoration conservation efforts that have hit the national agenda, the forest community continues to face challenges that if not addressed urgently, the water tower will still face a threat of destruction.

From a distance, one is able to spot smoke from charcoal burning spots in the interior parts of the forest and also met several loggers packed timber on a tractors. A clear indication that some of these activities that destroy forest cover are still in existence.

This is leading to microclimate changes across the forest edges. A microclimate is the distinctive climate of a small-scale area, such as a garden, park, valley or part of a city.

Daudi Sigilai Arapmosik, a teenager and a resident here, who does part time comedy on a community Radio station nearby, notes that illegal logging and charcoal burning are common and serious and should be addressed urgently.

He confirmed that Kenya Forest Service has tried much but they have very few staff to patrol the forest. “If we had more forest guards may be the forest could not be destroyed by these charcoal burners and loggers” he laments.

Likewise, Magdaline Limo, mother of four in the Chepsir tea zone area says her biggest problem is the elephants that eat and destroy her crops. “Recently elephants invaded my small farm and destroyed maize worth one acre, my family depends on this farm, what can I do to stop these elephants coming to my farm?” she laments.

Many of the dwellers here, who are from the Kipsigis sub-tribe of the Kalenjin community, depend on ecosystem services from the forest. Many do farming, livestock rearing, beekeeping, and mixed crop farming. Chunks of maize plantations and tea dot the landscape in the area.

Being one of the Mau Complex blocks, it contains one of the largest Kenya’s water tower, located in the south western block, bordering Kericho and Bomet counties. The forest is both known for its indigenous and exotic tree species.

It is also a catchment are for several rivers including River Timbilil which serves the entire Kericho County, Birirbei, Kiplelachbei, Lelachbei among others.

Kuresoi, Chagaik, and Cheboswa are some of the neighboring forests of Chepsir. Chepsir dam and Sachoran form part of the wetlands in the region.

People living around Chepsir forest believe this is their only source of livelihood. Water from rivers, fodder for their livestock and rains of the crops are their main means of survival.

Tea plantation in Chepsir village southwestern Mau block

Since the government rolled out the Mau restoration process, many stakeholders have been involved in various campaigns ranging from tree planting exercises, education on importance of conserving the forest among others.

However for these efforts to have a lasting conservation solution, communities like the Chepsir Tea zone settlement scheme that have settled around the forest face challenges that make them resort to activities that destroy the entire mau ecosystem.

Mau is a catchment area of rivers: Ewaso Nyiro; Sondu; Mara and Njoro which feed some of the most important great Riftvalley lakes such as Nakuru and Natron and Lake Victoria in Nyanza.

Survival of all these ecosystems depend entirely on the Mau, therefore any activity that contributes to its degradation has huge local, regional and international implications.

Chepsir forest has continued to lose its indigenous tree species especially the cedar and podocarpus to charcoal burning.

Duncan Kibet, a village elder and farmer, notes that many of the illegal charcoal burners and loggers are people who don’t belong to the community around the forest. “It is sad that total strangers come to destroy this forest and we watch because we have no capacity to stop them, we only see them leave with products”.

Chanegs in the area’s microclimate are leading to favorable conditions for breeding of several disease vectors.

Now, as a community that depends of farming, many of the livestock keepers in this area face a challenge of pests that invade and transmit diseases to their livestock.

Daniel Rotich, a veterinary doctor and a member of Chepsir Environmental Conservation and protection Group, confirms that there are over twenty species of pests that transmit different strains of diseases to the livestock.

East Coast Fever, Babeosis (blue tick), Lumpy skin disease, heart water/Black quarter and rabbies are some of the diseases that are a big threat to the livestock in the region.

This spreads a huge economic impact on the farmer in terms of seeking treatment and loss if the livestock.

Mr.Rotich adds that at least one thousand livestock are lost through this annually.

However, the Kenya Forest Service has come up with mechanisms to help communities living around this forest through the Forest Act that came into force in 2007. Through this act, community based organizations have been registered as community Forest Associations (CFAs).

All these working together with Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Working Group among other stakeholders to conserve the forest. Communities pay one hundred Kenya shillings monthly to access firewood from this forest on a daily basis.

Alphonse Rotich, a farmer and a Coordinator of Save The Mau Forests Conservation project, says Chepsir community has been very committed to conservation of the forest. Many of the farmers have more than two percent tree cover in their farms. He adds that there is need for the community to benefit from the Carbon Credits Projects which have been rolled out in some parts of the country.

This will help them benefit directly from their conservation efforts and spread the benefits further to other people, a move that will promote sequestration (sucking of carbon from the atmosphere) hence help in fighting climate change effects.

As Kenya struggles to achieve its millennium development goals by 2015, conservation and sustainable development remain a top priority in restoring catchment areas like Chepsir forest which need urgent intervention both at the community level and authority level.

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