Green Party President and local politician Peter Sinkamba has attributed Zambia’s water woes to poor management. According to him, the provision of poor quality of water by water utilities countrywide is as a result of poor regulatory and institutional framework. Mr. Sinkamba has also called out the government for failing to enact drinking water quality guidelines and standards.
Reacting to recent reports of poor water quality supplied by water utility companies in Lusaka, Copperbelt and Midlands, Mr. Sinkamba complained about continued absence of drinking water quality guidelines and standards in Zambia. This, he said, is to be blamed for the recent endemic cases of water borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery in the country.
Mr. Sinkamba said that at the moment, there are two pieces of legislation which were enacted in the 1990s but neither addresses drinking water quality guidelines and standards as well as sanitation. The Waste Water Regulations of 1994 are enforced through ZEMA. The focus for these regulations is to control pollution of surface and groundwater systems. As such, ZEMA provides permits for discharge of effluents and wastewater in accordance with these regulations. However, Mr. Sinkamba was quick to assert that these are not drinking water quality standards but pollution standards.
On the other hand, the Water Supply and Sanitation Act of 1997 which establishes NWASCO. Mr. Sinkamba points out that although the Act empowers NWASCO to establish and enforce water supply and sanitation services, the institution has failed to do so in the last 10 years or so.
And Mr. Sinkamba says the current institutional and legal framework for provision of water and sanitation services in Zambia is archaic and requires a complete overhaul to safeguard lives of the people.
As a solution, the green party president asserts that the Government needs to overhaul the current institutional and regulatory framework for water supply and sanitations. This move, he says, will go a long way towards sanitizing the entire system. He further added that bodies such as NWASCO, ZEMA, and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission should all be overhauled. This, he explained, will help protect consumers against unhealthy and unfair trade practices in the provision of water and sanitation services.