THERE is a 202,000 cubic litres daily shortage of water in Lusaka city, according to the government.
Acting water development, sanitation and environmental protection minister Vincent Mwale, in a ministerial statement in Parliament on Friday, informed the House that average production of water per day stands at 216,000 cubic litres against a total demand of 418,000 cubic litres required for Lusaka per day.
Mwale said there was currently no supply of water to Chongwe due to the drying up of the Chongwe river, the source of piped water to the district.
The ministerial statement was regarding the water situation in Lusaka and Chongwe districts.
There has been an inconsistent supply in almost all residential areas of Lusaka city.
In Zingalume compound, for instance, residents have had no running water for two weeks now – forcing them to “borrow” the commodity from those with boreholes.
On Saturday morning, Zingalume residents protested for that reason.
Mwale told the House that currently, “the companies are unable to meet the expected production of water due to effects of drought which has resulted in some boreholes drying up.”
“As members of parliament may be aware, during the 2018/2019 rainy season, Lusaka received below-normal rainfall of 502 milimetres while the normal is 776 milimetres, resulting in a significant [rainfall] deficit of 274 milimetres or 35 per cent,” Mwale said.
“Due to electricity load-management, the companies are unable to continuously pump from the available boreholes.”
He explained that Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company had been compelled to reduce hours of water supply, on a daily basis, to different residential areas in the capital city.
In Garden area and Olympia Extension, the minister noted that water supply had been reduced from 16 hours to four hours while in Kanyama the reduction is from 24 hours to 17 hours.
“Hours of supply reduced from 10 hours to four hours in George compound, hours of supply reduced to Kabanana compound from six hours to four hours, hours of supply reduced from 16 hours to three hours to Salama Park and Chelstone and hours of supply reduced for Nyumba Yanga and Nyumba Complex from 16 hours to four hours,” Mwale highlighted.
He added that in Chelstone and Avondale, hours of water supply reduced from 16 hours to between two to three hours while in PHI, Mtendere and Kalingalinga its from 16 hours to between two to three hours.
“Hours of supply reduced to Woodlands and Chalala from 12 hours to four hours, Chilenje South from 12 hours to between four and zero hours, reduced hours of supply to Foxdale, Roma Park, Ng’ombe from eight hours to between four to zero hours…” Mwale explained.
He, however, assured residents of Lusaka and Zambians, in general, that the PF government recognised the importance of water and sanitation as well as hygiene to human development.
Mwale said the government was aware that water and sanitation, as well as good hygiene practices, were primary drivers of public health in the country.
“For instance, reports show that 88 per cent of diarrhoeal diseases are attributed to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and hygiene,” he said.
“It is in this regard that government, through the Ministry of Water development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, is implementing various water sanitation infrastructure projects under the National Water Supply and Sanitation Programme in line with the 7th National Development Plan and the Vision 2030.”
Mwale acknowledged that the country was facing a challenge with respect to water supply.
He indicated that water scarcity in Lusaka and Chongwe districts had worsened in the recent past.
“I wish to inform the august House that Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company has two sources of water which supplies residents of Lusaka, namely surface water from Kafue river and underground water within the city,” Mwale said.
“This translates in 40 per cent of water coming from Kafue river and 60 per cent from 130 productive boreholes located within the city. Of these 130 boreholes, 60 boreholes, as of today (Friday), have been severely affected by low water levels while 11 have, in fact, been shut down.”
In Chongwe, Mwale said: “due to the drying up of the Chongwe river, which is the source of piped water to the district, there is currently no supply of water to Chongwe.”
“This has reduced from 18 hours to zero,” noted Mwale.