Monday, 9 January 2017

Rainwater Harvesting, a technology to embrace.

 MacPherson MUKUKA in Lusaka

Water is undoubtedly the world’s most used natural resource.

The mineral remains the most critical component of human’s day to day activities.

Over Centuries, the water has played a role of the backbone of all living things, humans, animals and plants, its role cannot replaced by any other natural resource, as it is at the center of life.

However, with the passage of time, and due to some human activities, the resource is slowly been sacked into the ground. Other factors leading to the depletion of the mineral include little or no rainfall and high temperatures resulting into the drying off of major water bodies.

Zambia has not been an exception to this development.

For the last few years, most parts of the country have recorded poor rainfall, leading to shortages of the resource for use at both household and commercial levels.

For urban areas, tap water becomes scarce due to various reasons, and low water table levels, is among them.

Arguably, in the long term, the development has caused the water utility companies to fail to pump expected amount of water to supply to customers.

Lusaka water and sewerage company Public relations and Marketing Manager Topsy Sikalinda discloses that low water tables  have a negative bearing on the operations of the utility.

He says, his organisation faces a number of challenges when the water table level is low as demand cannot be met.

This is coupled with effects of Climate Change which to a larger extent, are human made. Most scholars have argued on whether the whole phenomena is a hoax or not.

But a Climate Change Participatory Adaptation Specialist CCPAS, Martin Sishekanu believes climate change is true and that its effects are felt.

He says human activities such as agriculture and timber processing at commercial level have contributed to the poor rainfall recorded in the country in the previous years.

"Humans have caused all these problems for themselves, the flora that once controlled the movement of the winds has been cut." He said.

Mr. Sishekanu further adds that deforestation alone has caused most parts of the country to stop experiencing torrential rains.

"The movement of the wind has been disturbed, this is why you find, a kilometer from where we are (Maina Soko area) it is raining, meanwhile here it is dry." said Mr. Sishekanu.

The CCPAS told me that the best way to have all the challenges of water overcome in Zambia is to utilise the little resource the country holds to the best ability.

He says Government must commit resources towards setting up rainwater harvesting facilities, and most of all to avoid deforestation.

With only about 40 percent of the entire water resource in the southern region, the need to devise strategies aimed at conserving the water is essential. I had a chance to interviewing Water Resources Management Authority WARMA Director General Dr.Paul Kapotwe who disclosed that authority has formulated guidelines in a quest to safeguard the water resource in the country.

According to Dr. Kapotwe, the guidelines will serve as a deterrent to abusers of the resource.

"The guidelines will come with penalties, and stiffer penalties as a matter of fact." He said.

Disclosed that the Authority has also been mandated to regulate and license all water drilling companies for the purpose of effective management of the water.

The other good news is that Government has in the last few years been to trying to find means of how to store rain water for future use at both household and commercial levels.

And rainwater harvesting has emerged as a solution. The practice involves direct collection of rainwater.

The rainwater collected can be stored for direct use or can be recharged into the ground.
Early in 2016, Government announced and embarked on rainwater harvesting project in selected provinces.

The project includes construction of new dams and rehabilitating existing ones. So far, over 10 news dams have been rehabilitated and 5 new ones constructed.

Government has put its foot forward to ensure all rainwater is channeled towards the right reservoirs in each catchment area.

it must be noted therein that Community based rainwater harvesting in rural areas of Zambia has become more common today than it was before.

It is, in fact, only with the common undeveloped technology that people are able to survive in water scarce areas.

Appropriate systems should ideally evolve from the experience of traditional techniques where these exist.
Above all it is necessary that the systems are appreciated by the communities where they are introduced. Without popular participation and support, projects are unlikely to succeed.

Water harvesting technology is especially relevant to the semi-dry and dry areas where the problems of environmental degradation, drought and population pressures are most evident.

It is an important component of the list of solutions for these problem zones, and there is no doubt that implementation of Water Harvesting techniques will expand in Zambia.

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