26 March 2014

Zambia: 'Luapula Has Lowest Water Service Coverage'

LUAPULA Province has the lowest water service coverage in Zambia, Luapula Water and Sewerage Company managing director Sebastian Chilekwa has said.

Mr Chilekwa said at the second water operator partnership annual seminar at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium conference hall in Ndola yesterday that the province had the lowest water service coverage in Zambia at 20 per cent as of 2013.

He said that was an improvement from 12 per cent in 2012.

Mr Chilekwa said the low percentage of consumers accessing supplied water was as a result of the water infrastructure which has not been improved on or changed since it was initially built in the 1970s.

Electricity was another challenge Luapula Water and Sewerage Company faced because it was not sufficient to enable the company to pump enough water in a day. Mr Chilekwa said the company had embarked on consultations with potential funders to improve coverage.

Support services officer for the company, Chipunka Chisala said 70 per cent of the clients were in Mansa, while 30 per cent were in the other districts in the province. And water utilities on the Copperbelt have pledged to reduce the percentage of unpaid for piped water to 35 per cent from the current 43 per cent by December 2015.

Deputy national chairperson of water operator partnership project, Athanasius Mwaba said the project also targeted to supply improved water and sanitation to 10,000 urban low-income houses by December 2015 when the project ends in the province.

He said the project that started in June 2012 and had its first annual conference in Kitwe last year set out to deliver better governance in the water sector.

Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge said when he officially launched the conference on Tuesday that water utilities in Zambia should do more to sensitise the public that supply of quality water should be paid for even by Government ministries.

Mr Musenge said there was a negative culture in Zambia of not paying for water because some people believed it should be free, while Government ministries did not settle water bills promptly.

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