GOVERNMENT yesterday signed a K750 billion Kafue bulk water supply project with China Civil Engineering Construction which is aimed at improving water supply to households and commercial areas in Lusaka.
Local Government and Housing Permanent Secretary Bernard Namachila signed on behalf of the Government while China Engineering Construction (Botswana) general Manager George Guan signed for the firm.
Mr Namachila said the Kafue Bulk water supply project would involve construction of a new bulk water supply line from Kafue to Lusaka.
In addition, the distribution system in Lusaka and surrounding areas would be expanded to improve supply.
"This project will cost US150 million or K750 billion and will be implemented over a period of 24 months.
"This programme will greatly complement the Lusaka water supply, sanitation and drainage programme funded by the American government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) at an estimated cost of K1.8 trillion," he said.
He said the Government was prompted to obtain a concessional loan from Exim Bank of China for the Kafue bulk water supply project in order to complete the process of improving water supply to the city of Lusaka.
"We realised that without increasing the capacity of supplying water from Kafue River to supplement the ground water supply, the rehabilitation and expansion of the water distribution network would not in itself increase access to water supply in the project area as Lusaka," he said.
Mr Namachila said the Government attached great importance to sustainable provision of clean and safe drinking water and would like to have universal access to it by 2030.
He said it was for this reason that the Government had continued to mobilise both local and international funding to improve water supply through water utilities.
He said Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company required about US$600 million (K3 trillion) in the next five years and that so far $350 million (K1.8 trillion) had been mobilised to improve water supply.
He said the issue of sustainability was critical and that the Government would expect quality work to enable it realise the Vision 2030 and also contribute to poverty alleviation.
Mr Namachila urged the contractor to efficiently undertake the works because Government had targets to meet.