May 8, 2004

Two thirds lack adequate water supply

Two thirds lack adequate water supply

More than two thirds of the Zambian population does not have access to adequate services, the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) has said. Launching the 2002/03 Urban and Peri-Urban Water Supply Sector report at Pamodzi Hotel, NWASCO board chairman Cosmas Musumali said that there were multiple concerns in the provision of water and sanitation. Dr Musumali explained that the sector report showed that the major concerns, especially on the Copperbelt, were related to water supply, poor billing systems and lack of sanitation facilities. Commercial water utilities on the Copperbelt were said to have continued failing to provide quality water supply to the residents. He said that these challenges were prominent also in other towns where the councils were running water utilities. "On average, over 25 per cent of the population in urban and peri-urban areas are not covered by the water supply systems and many more are inadequately served," he said.

Dr Musumali said that revenue collection from water and sanitation supply services was still being hampered by poor settlement trend, particularly by Government institutions. "Cost of operations has unfortunately increased significantly, particularly cost of personnel, an increased number of local authority operated schemes are on the brink of collapse," he said. At the same function, Nwasco director Osward Chanda urged the media to stimulate public participation in the delivery of water and sanitation. He said that the council had recorded an increased in the participation by the public and service providers but more could still be done. (The Times of Zambia, Ndola)

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