THE water sector is another little known yet a very essential sector that inter links different sectors of the economy. Despite Zambia tailoring its own National Water Policy in 1994, until 2011, the water policy remained a redundant document as the prospects of exploiting the water resources remained unattended to.
After being elected into government, the Patriotic Front embarked on a journey to integrate and institutionalise the management of the water resources.
It was intended to address cross sectoral issues such as land use, irrigation, wetland conservation, and climate change and conflict management.
The functions of water management was vested in the Ministry of Energy and Water Development with a Water Development portfolio being at the same stature with other directorates in the Ministry.
To bring about specialty in the Water Resource Management, the Ministry of Water Development was established as part of the institutional framework. Its successor is the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection.
To strengthen institutional framework, in 2011, the Water Resource Management Authority (WARMA) Act no. 21 of 2011 was enacted and in effect provided for the framework for the management of this essential re- source.
By 2015, the government had sunk 780 boreholes as an alternative way of harvesting and utilizing the water resources in aiding and stimulating irrigation activities.
The government has also constructed four major dams and water schemes which would provide water for irrigation, aqua culture and household use. This initiative and fulfillment of the water policies will lead to stimulated economic activities.
Going forward beyond 2021, the PF intends to continue fulling and consolidating the activities which will enhance the water policies. The government under President Edgar Lungu has shown political will to construct more dams which will promote water harvesting.
The PF government will also decentralise the issuance of borehole, water dams and construction li- censing of boreholes to local authorities for easy access.
The deliberate effort of integrating the local authorities will make the licensing facilities to be accessible to the people.
The PF government also intend to introduce a two tier system of water purification for human consumption as well as utilise the untreated water of agriculture and industrial use.
The government intends to facilitate private sector in- vestment in water supply for domestic, agriculture and industrial use.
It is therefore necessary that progressive policy framework in the water sec- tor is supported for the sake of stimulation of economic activities. In fact, Zambia has 40 percent of the water quantities in the sub region and should take advantage of this resource it is endowed with.
MARVIN CHANDA MBERI, Lusaka.