Thursday, 29 September 2016
CHONGWE RIVER DRIES UP AGAIN!
By MacPherson Mukuka in Lusaka
Effects of Climate change and global warming have continued to pose a huge threat on the welfare of many people in affected areas.
In Zambia, one of the major problems some sections of the country faces is shortage of water, either tap water or natural river water.
This is despite the country sitting on about 60 percent of Southern Africa’s aquifer.
Lusaka’s Chongwe District is one of the areas that have in the recent past faced a series of challenges in as far as water is concerned.
The District has for the last 5 years being grappling with water challenges every dry season despite having enough rainfall in the previous rainy season.
In 2013, the District’s only source of natural water subject for treatment, The Chongwe River completely dried up.
This caused the Water utility firm to start transporting water from the Capital, Lusaka to Chongwe in bowsers just so to mitigate the situation.
The Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) also engaged the Zambia National Service (ZNS) to help mitigate the water problems in Chongwe district.
ZNS was brought on board to dig up the Chongwe River to prevent a reoccurrence of situation in.
Company Spokesperson Topsy Sikalinda then said in an interview that digging of the river was aimed at making it deeper in order to reduce chances of it drying up.
He expressed optimism that the efforts will bring a lasting solution to the water problem in the district.
He further said ZNS was using bulldozers and earth moving equipment to dig up the ground.
Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company acting Marketing and Public Relations Manager Damasake Chibale told said the water utility company had put measures in place to curb the problem.
Mr. Chibale said the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company had put in place both short term and long term measures to resolve the water problem.
He attributed the water problems that had been faced in Chongwe district for the past two dry seasons to poor rainfall and farming activities conducted between that district and Lusaka in which water is being trapped for irrigation by some farmers.
He added that already, the water problem in Chongwe was normalizing.
Mr. Chibale said the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company has been supplying water to Chongwe using water bowsers as a short term measure to ensure that residents in the area have the commodity adequately.
He said a dedicated pipeline will be put in place as a long term measure.
Mr. Chibale said physical work on the Kafue-Chongwe pipeline was to start in the second quarter of 2015.
He also said additional water reservoirs, which will receive enough water to supply to Lusaka city and surrounding areas, including Chongwe, will be put in place.
He further said the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company was to start sensitizing its customers on water conservation and usage.
However, the measures that seemed to be lasting solutions have not worked to the advantage of the water utility company and the residents as the River has dried up again.
This has now prompted the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company to shut down the Chongwe water treatment plant with immediate effect.
Company Interim Managing Director, MANUEL MUTALE says the decision to shut the plant has been necessitated by the lower water levels and subsequent drying of the Chongwe River.
Mr. MUTALE said the Company has put up measures to immediately start transporting water by road from Lusaka into Chongwe until the rainy season.
He said the water utility company is working closely with the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit under the office of the Vice President to deal with the matter.
Mr. MUTALE said that the effects of global warming are real and the utility has already put in place measures to mitigate the situation.
He said one of the long term measures being put in place is drilling of some boreholes about 11 kilometers away from Chongwe town .
Mr. MUTALE said the project is underway and once all required logistics are in place, the well field will be done to mitigate shortage of water during dry seasons in Chongwe district.
He says the town has no ground water hence adding that it is a challenge to drill boreholes in the area.
Mr. MUTALE has further urged the customers to show responsibility by conserving water during the dry season in order to ease the pressure of increased demand during this period of the year.
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