Posts tagged ‘transportation’

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 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.

June 29, 2012

Uganda: Experts Warn of Disease Outbreak Due to 18% VAT on Water

Paschal B. Bagonza
June 29, 2012

Three women are each carrying a 20-litre empty jerrycan. They look scared, and are running away from a locked water tap. The padlock reads “18% TAX.” It is a sweaty run to the well to collect water. One of the women has a baby strapped on her back; of course, they are barefooted. The well where they are running to has some very happy, but thorny members therein. These members include cholera, hepatitis, dysentery, typhoid, polio, guinea worm and scabies. One of the members (Cholera) in this well shouts, “Long live the budget.”

This is a cartoon in a local daily, The New Vision, talking about how the minister of finance, planning and economic development, Maria Kiwanuka, reinstated the 18% Value Added Tax (VAT) on piped water in the 2012/2013 Financial year national budget. She said the reinstated tax will contribute over Shs 24 billion to the national treasury

People including a child collect water for domestic use in a rural part of Uganda

The reinstating of the tax has generated debates in taxis, amongst boda boda riders (riders of commercial motorbikes), cooks, washing bay operators and schools among many others. This is because water as a resource, is the very basic of being, just like life.

In one of the debates in a commuter taxi a woman quips, “Balalu okwongeza omusolo kumazzi” (are they [Government] mad to increase water tax).

A 20-litre jerrycan of water was being sold at between Shs 150 and Shs 200, depending on the location and scarcity of the resource. There are fears that water prices are going to double or hit Shs 500 per 20-litre jerrycan. Certain boarding schools and landlords are planning to shift the burden of the tax to their students and tenants respectively.

There are fears that manufacturing industries are going to heap the burden on the final consumer by increasing commodity prices.

According to Water Aid, 33% of Uganda’s population does not have access to safe water, and 52% of people are without sanitation. Infant mortality stands at 130 in 1,000, and 26,000 children under the age of five die every year die from diarrheal diseases.

The ministry of water and environment says access to safe water in urban areas (mainly through piped water supplies and boreholes, as well as shallow wells in small towns), currently stands at 66%.

In an exclusive interview with Water Journalists Africa, at Makerere University, a PhD Research Fellow at the UNESCO-IHE (Institute for Water Education), Ezrah Natumanya said the tax means that more people will not be able to access water, thereby reducing the water coverage in the country.

Ezrah Natumanya, a PhD Research Fellow at UNESCO-IHE

Natumanya said what would have been done is to “increase the fares for the industries and rich people, but not for the poor people.”

He said given the anticipated price increment of water people are going to start consuming untreated water and from local sources.

Natumanya said it would also be “good for the government to review the issue of reinstating VAT on water.”

He is worried that since people are going to avoid using tap water due to anticipated price rise, they are going to suffer from many water borne diseases. He added that people are also going to resume using pit latrines instead of flushing toilets because of the water costs. The use of pit latrines, he said, will expose the environment to more diseases and bacteria.

Natumanya has been working at Makerere University Institute of Environment and Natural Resources since December 2006. He is currently the chairperson of WaterNet Alumni.

He has previously written papers, supervised students and has research interests in hydrology, water supply and sanitation, integrated water resources management and climate change – impacts and adaptations in the water sector.

According to Natumanya, scientific studies show that every Ugandan uses over 25 cubic metres (about five 20-litre jerrycans) per day.

A private environment consultant in water resources management, Danson Asiimwe, told me that the government didn’t take due diligence in reinstating the tax.

Asiimwe said the tax is going to increase everything and that with time, a common person will feel the pinch. He said consumers will have to shoulder the tax load through high prices levied by manufacturing industries, because they want to meet their huge water bills.

He said the reinstating is also like the government is “legalising water borne-diseases. Saying that it is ok we can have water borne diseases as long as we collect our money. I think it is not okay,” Asiimwe observed.

80% of diseases in developing countries are caused by contaminated water.

Like Natumanya, Asiimwe is also worried that the moment the cost of a jerrycan from piped water source increases, people will resort to unsafe sources/wells. “Rather than pay Shs 2 per 20-litre jerrycan, people would instead go to fetch water from unsafe sources. In the end, the diseases we have been trying to eliminate will come back, especially in urban centres.”

MPs vow to fight the tax

The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga said Parliament is going to fight the reintroduction of VAT on piped water.

Kadaga said the previous parliament rejected this proposal and wonders as to why the government is reintroducing it, Kfm reported.

“In the seventh and eighth parliament, we rejected that proposal. We had a big battle over it with the ministry of finance. We defeated them that time, but now they have brought it back. I am sure the members of parliament are getting ready for another battle,” Kadaga said.

Uganda’s speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga

She said parliament is ready to fight the proposal, which is likely is to have a negative impact on the lives of many Ugandans.
“I don’t know what reason she [minister of finance] is going to give now for justifying it, because we defeated it logically. But let’s see what she has to say this time.

Other MPs opposed to the tax are John Ken Lukyamuzi and Ronald Reagan Okumu. The legislators said the reintroduction is going to make it hard for an average person to access clean water, especially those in rural areas.

Lukyamuzi echoed Natumanya’s worry that the reinstating of the tax on piped water will lead to an increase of water born diseases as people look for alternative sources of water, because they can’t afford it.

The opposition Forum for Democratic Change spokesperson Phillip Wafula Oguttu said his party cannot accept that tax.
“You don’t increase taxes on beer, but put VAT on water for poor people. Water is life, and we hope we shall mobilise our colleagues in parliament…that that tax is defeated.”

However, Gomba County MP Rosemary Najjemba Muyinda defended the reinstating of the tax saying this will be used to extend clean water to rural areas.

According to the UN, about 1.1 billion people the world over cannot access safe drinking water, and still 2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation.

The UN adds that because of this massive sanitation figure, 1.8 million people die every year from diarrheal diseases, including 90% of children under the age of five.

June 19, 2012

Zambia: Germany Supports Water Infrastructure Improvement

Newton Sibanda
June 19, 2012

The Germany government will provide Zambia’s Eastern Province with K106.5 billion under the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation programme.

The three-phase project will utilize K46.5 billion towards the improvement of the water infrastructure in the towns through the Eastern Water and Sewerage Company (EWSC).

Germany ambassador Frank Meyke disclosed the development during the handover of the EWSC water treatment plant in Petauke that his government would provide the funding in three phases to the programme being implemented by the provincial water utility.

Mr Meyke said the K46.5 billion will be made in the first phase towards the water infrastructure in the towns of Petauke, Lundazi, Mambwe and Chama respectively.

Germany ambassador to Zambia Frank Meyke

The works will include the drilling of boreholes, installation of pumps, construction of storage reservoirs, laying of pipes, and construction of water kiosks. They will also include rehabilitation of sanitation facilities in schools and hospitals as well as maintenance works on Lundazi Dam.

Mr Meyke notes that the project would benefit 100,000 people many of whom would enjoy such services for the first time.

“In Eastern Province, a total of K106.5 billion will be made available in three phases to the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation. At the end of the first phase, K46.5 billion will be disbursed to improve water infrastructure in the towns of Petauke, Lundazi, Chama and Mambwe,” he said.

The project would soon go into the second phase in the towns of Chadiza, Nyimba, Katete and Chipata.

Mr Meyke said besides the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation programme in Eastern Province, German also supported the rural sector where close to 2000 water points were constructed, reaching approximately 600,000 rural people and that the value of the projects in the province amounted to a total sum of K177 billion.

He said at the recent Government negotiations on development cooperation between the two governments in November last year, a total of K215 billion was committed for future support to the Zambian water and sanitation sector.

Mr Meyke also said 880 million Euros had been provided under the German-Zambia Development Cooperation for over 40 years, saying the bulk of this had been allocated to the water and sanitation sector.

He said German would continue supporting Zambia in increasing access to safe drinking water and to improved sanitation facilities.

He said through the improvement of water and sanitation, Zambia would be assisted to achieve some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

Eastern Province Minister Charles Banda commended Germany for the support being rendered to Zambia.

Mr Banda said he was happy that the cooperation between the two countries in the water sector dated back to the 1990s when the Government of Zambia commenced the water sector reform programme.

“The Germany Government has been key to the success of the water sector through the support it has given to Southern and North-Western Water and Sewerage Companies, the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) and to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing,” he said.

Mr Banda said the Zambian Government was committed to continuing the steadfast water sector reforms of 1994 and implementation of the concept of commercialization.

He however said the Government was aware that EWSC was owed K3.5 billion in outstanding water bills by various departments and directed all Government departments with outstanding water bills to liquidate them or face disconnection by the water supply company.

June 15, 2012

Zambia: Call-Boys Urinate against Poor Sanitation

Newton Sibanda
June 15, 2012

In a bizarre way of demonstrating, call-boys at the main commuter station of Zambia’s tourist capital Livingstone have urinated against poor sanitation during a visit by the parliamentary committee on local government.

Call-boys are the rowdy youths who earn their living by shouting for customers and wooing commuters at bus stations or bus stops.

The peculiar incident happened when committee members led by Eustackio Kazunga visited the Livingstone bus station to familiarize themselves with the challenges being faced by the Livingstone City Council in terms of sanitation last week.

Poor Sanitation and hygiene remains one of dangerous threats to good health in most Africa’s towns

Determined to raise the profile of their plight, albeit in a unique way, the call boys invited the cameraman from the public broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) who was covering the tour and led him to a caravan situated next to a makeshift restaurant commonly known as ‘Savage Restaurant’ where they openly urinated.

“We want to show you how we go about our daily lives. This is our only toilet and behind this caravan is a restaurant,” said one call boy as others joined him in the urinating mission.

As the committee bypassed the caravan, the call boys shouted while pointing at the heaps of garbage and their makeshift ‘toilets’.

Three other boys urinating as Kazonga, who is former local government minister, hurriedly walked on.

Earlier, a minibus driver pushed his way through the councilors who accompanied Kazonga to brief him on the bad state of the station.

“This place is very bad, especially during the rainy season. We want it to be worked on,” said.

In response, Kazonga said “The council management is here with the Town Clerk and the mayor and they are listening. We want this place to be a decent one with toilets and running water.”

March 22, 2012

Zambia: Kashikishi Where Each Drop Counts

Violet Mengo
March 22, 2012

Every 22nd March, the world marks international water day, held as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Water Journalists Africa Network, joins the rest of the world to mark this day with one of our members Violet Mengo visiting Kashikishi-one of the communities in the world lacking water; just water and not safe water and now the lack of water is attracting more problems into lives of people of Kashikishi.

WITH her nine-month-old baby strapped on her back, Kaluba Chola emerges from her grass-thatched hut before daybreak to embark on a routine daily journey to fetch water about eight kilometers away.

By her side is Patience, her 12-year-old daughter who prefers carrying out this chore to going to school in this remote Yenga Village tucked in Nchelenge district of Luapula Province, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Chola wakes up early despite howling nocturnal birds and animals to beat the queue at the communal borehole sunk by a charity organisation a decade or so ago.

Covering a 16-kilometre journey on foot is beyond intrigue. More so that by the time Chola treks back home after midday with 80 litres of water on a noisy screeching wheelbarrow, she is exhausted and dejected.

Her dream of having access to constant supply of clean water seems not a reality. Not only that, she has not had food since morning and has no idea where the family’s meal will come from.

“Waking up in the wee hours is now part of our life, it is only sad that my little girl misses her class most of the time to line up at the communal borehole,” Chola says, with a clear expression of regret on her face.

Patience, a grade five pupil is supposed to be in class at 09:00 hours but she stays away from school due to house chores. For her, school is optional while drawing water is mandatory. This is routine.

When she submits to fatigue or has no money to pay for the water at the communal borehole, she is forced to walk a few kilometres further to fetch water at the natural source – the crocodile-infested Lake Mweru. The risks are obvious but options limited too.

Kaluba Chola drawing water at the only communal borehole in Kashikishi

The blood-thirsty reptiles have mauled many, yet they have not been cropped and there seems to be no plans from the marine department.

Apart from that, Chola puts her life and that of her family at risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery, which are quite prevalent in Zambia as water from this body is not treated.

For her living, she runs a small shop of merchandise just at her house while her husband is a fishmonger. His business has been going down due to illegal fishing methods practiced in the area.

Between November and February every year, government imposes a fish ban to allow the stock to breed. ‘Wrongdoers’ are prosecuted and imprisoned although the sentence is short and, therefore, not prohibitive.

However, the depletion of the fish due to illegal fishing methods has forced most local people to engage in other economic activity such as charcoal burning and farming.

Despite these activities, majority of the people in Kashikishi have remained very poor. According to Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR), the food basket for Lusaka stands at K2.6 million (US$600) per month for a family of six.

But the people of Kashikishi only survive by His grace as most of the residents’ expenditure is less than US$1 per day.

The World Bank estimates that over 80 percent of Zambians live in households that lack adequate means to meet basic daily needs (over 90 percent in many rural areas).

As wages stagnate or fall in real terms, an increasing number of Zambian families are being forced to go without the normal three meals a day. Even the meals taken have no basic balanced diet.

The figures on malnourished children have a telling effect. Many families have to expand economic activities by engaging in extra trade, small-scale business or crime, corruption and other ills.

In Zambia, the story of Chola and her community is not unique. Most rural parts of the country lack access to clean safe drinking water. Sanitation is a worse off challenge.

Despite the availability of the water from Lake Mweru, Luapula River and other small dams, it has been a huge challenge for the local people to access clean safe water.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report 1998, whose focus was on consumption, states: ”Human development is a process of enlarging people’s choices.

Enlarging people’s choices is achieved by expanding human capabilities and functioning. At all levels of development the three essential capabilities for human development are: to lead long and healthy lives, to be knowledgeable and to have access to the resources needed for a decent standard of living.

The establishment of the Luapula Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) in 2009 has excited of Nchelenge. Since the company started its operations in 2010, it has been serving 280 households from the initial 400 connections, which were once under the local authority – Nchelenge District Council.

LWSC support service officer Charles Kalapa is concerned with the kind of water being supplied to clients.
“The infrastructure is dilapidated and compromises the quality of water given to our customers,” Mr Kalapa says.

The district only has one water reservoir, so the water is pumped directly from the pump house to clients after chlorination.

The treatment point where water is chlorinated before final supply to customers

As though this challenge is not enough, LWSC only supplies water to its customers for 45 minutes only in the night due to low voltage of electricity the company receives. “During the day, we are not able to supply water because electricity supply is very low and our machines cannot work. The water pump machines runs at 380 volts and the electricity we receive is only 200volts,” says LWSC Nchelenge district manager Daniel Namasuno.

As a result the company cannot expand its service to include new clients. According to the 2010 National Census Report, Nchelenge district has a total population of 148, 671.

The Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) is aware of the challenges of power supply experienced by people in Luapula province.

Director – Corporate Affairs Bestty Phiri explains: “We have embarked on installation of capacitor banks which will improve the low voltage for Luapula Province.”

Mr Phiri says the project will run for 18 months and the situation is expected to improve by June 2013.

How people manage

What people do, when LWSC supply water in the night, they are forced to store and use the following day, although it is never enough. This has resulted in many customers relying on the unclean water from Lake Mweru or Luapula River.

The dilapidated pump house where all the chlorination process takes place before water is supplied to customers

With an increase in the number of people who need water and want to be connected to the LWSC, the system has been overloaded and creating pressure on the machine.

LWSC District Manager for Nchelenge Daniel Namasumo says the increase in demand for water has created a huge problem for the utility company.

Mr Namasumo says Kashikishi is among the most prone areas in Zambia to diarrhoea because of people using untreated water from the lake.

On the shores of the lake, some people bath as others are catching fish while others wash their clothes and children playing in the water.

Disease burden

Water borne diseases are common in this part of Zambia especially in the rainy season when diseases are on the increase.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Kamoto Mbewe says diarrhoea is mostly associated with contamination of food and water.
Dr Mbewe says some viral infections can lead to diarrhoea and vomiting and the strains are highly contagious, being spread through unwashed hands.

“Shared drinks, utensils, and contaminated food also provide passage into your unsuspecting stomach. Hand washing, clean kitchens, and common sense go a long way to keep viruses under wraps,” he says.

To reduce the risk of bacteria-related diarrhoea, cook meat, poultry, and eggs completely. Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces.

The water project

But the water blues for residents of Nchelenge will soon be confined to history. A novel project has been designed to address the challenges and make the residents proud of themselves again, looking forward to a brighter future.

The initiative has been mooted by the National Water and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) through Devolution Trust Fund (DTF), which has approved a project to extend the water network, put up a water tank (100 cubic metres) and construct water kiosks at a cost of K2 billion.

NWASCO is a regulatory body for water providers ensures efficiency and sustainability of water supply and sanitation service. It works in liaison with DTF, which is a basket fund that gives water utilities money to improve water supply in urban and peri-urban areas of Zambia.

The project targets 100 families who will benefit from the 10 water kiosks and 120 individual connections. More than 2,000 people will benefit from the water kiosks in Kenani, Yenga and Malutu villages.

The project started in October 2011 and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

DTF manager Samuel Gonga is optimistic of extending the financial support to LWSC should the first project be carried successfully.

The basket fund has since 2007 been able to provide almost a million people with access to sustainable water supply in peri-urban and low cost areas. Its target is to reach 2.5 million people by 2015.

Gonga, however, says the target may not be reached by 2015 because of lack of absorption capacity of funds by the water utilities to implement projects within a short period of time.

He also attributed the limited funds to the basket fund as another hindrance to reach the 2.5 million targets. So far only Germany and the European Union are among the major donors to DTF.

In as much as the people of Kashikishi are expectant of safe clean water, the onus is on the water utility to work within the agreed time frame with DTF.

The 2,000 plus people to benefit from the project is a good start for the people of Nchelenge of better projects to come.

March 21, 2012

UN Economic Commission for Africa Wants Safe Water to Flow Allover Africa

Newton Sibanda
March 20,2012

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Abdoulie Janneh is calling for concrete actions to facilitate the delivery of safe water to millions of Africans who remain in need.

Addressing a high-level session on the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative and the Africa Water Facility at the just ended 6th World Water Forum in Marseilles France, Mr. Janneh said that a measure of success for the forum would be an agreement on renewed pledges to support African countries in meeting the millennium development goal (MDG) targets for water and sanitation, particularly in the rural areas.

The 6th World Water Forum gathered more than 25,000 participants in Marseille from 12th to 18th March 2012.

Mr. Janneh, who is also UN Under Secretary-Generalwas speaking on a panel on partnership for strengthening water security in Africa.

He urged African countries and development agencies to come up with strategies to harness the resources needed to transform Africa’s immense water potential into assets for people to grow food and save millions of lives from water borne diseases.

Other members of the panel included African Union Commission chairperson Jean Ping, Chairperson of the ; President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka,The Prince of Orange, Chairman of United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB); The Hon. , president of the African Ministers Council on Water Edna Molewa from South Africa; and AMCOW Executive Secretary. Bai Mass Taal.

Bai Mass Tall, the executive secretary of AMCOW (African Minister's Council on Water) speaking during the closing function of the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille

The panel unanimously called on African governments, bilateral and multilateral partners and other key stakeholders to help raise the resources, estimated at $400 million over the next three years, required to ensure that safe water is availability in acceptable levels throughout Africa.

Mr. Janneh said that there is a clear need for a work program that would lead to the achievement of the goal African countries set for themselves by continuing to place water issues at the forefront of Africa’s development agenda.

He renewed the commitment of ECA which hosts the secretariat of UN-Water/Africa to continue providing the support that will enable the water sector in the continent to build on its pioneering role as a model of inter-Agency coherence and synergy.

Mr Janneh recalled the dire situation of water needs in Africa and underscored its perplexing nature because the continent is actually “awash with large rivers, big lakes, vast wet lands and widespread ground water resources.”

“Indeed, in the context of this 6th World Water Forum, it is notable that Africa is endowed with transboundary waters with international river basins that cover not less than 62 percent of its land area”, he explained.

A picture of a mobile water purification plant in the Village of solutions at the 6th World Water Forum

Earlier, the president of the World Water Council, Loïc Fauchon said that Africa needs to bridge the gap between availability of water on the continent and the access its people have to it by fully integrating water accessibility and food security into national health strategies.

“What use is it to feed children only to see them die for lack of safe water”, Mr Fauchon asked, adding that water is as important for health as it is for energy.

He called for future climate change negotiations, including the future Green Fund, to put water issues on top of their discussions.

The Prince of Orange lauded efforts made by individual African countries, despite obvious financial constraints to supply water to the ever-increasing city populations, though regretting the fact that not so much progress had been made in the area of basic sanitation.

He called on Africa to begin to believe in its abilities saying, “a lot of good practices do exist on the continent and Africa countries should begin to look at each other for good examples.”

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Ping related different regional initiatives on water and said that the intra-African solidarity revealed during recent draughts in Somalia shows that Africa can contribute substantially towards resolving its water problems.

Mr. Kaberuka, President of the Africa Development Bank, recalled different initiatives by the bank and called for African ownership of its water projects, even as they continue to seek partnerships with development agenciesw while Ms.Molewa, president of AMCOW emphasized on the theme of the Forum – Time for Solutions – arguing Africa is doing its best, as testified by the growing number of African countries that have increased the budgetary allocations for water provision.

“Now is the time to use water to wash away poverty and underdevelopment”, she concluded.

The entire panel agreed that “a time for solutions” should also be an important step in preparing the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

This resonates with Africa’s position which is that water must be placed at the heart of all the issues on the agenda at Rio+20: for the green economy and in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

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