Editor's Comment

Let’s preserve water

WATER flowing through one of the canals into various fields.

“WATER is life” is probably one of the most powerfully true clichés. Without water, there can be no life. Human beings, animals and plants all depend on water to be alive.
The need to ensure adequate supply of the resource to support life cannot therefore be overemphasised.
It is therefore worrying that ground water levels are at their lowest in the last 10 years because of reduced rainfall and increased socio-economic activities.
This is according to an analysis by Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) from its ground water monitoring stations for the 2019/20 rainy season.
The authority has several ground and surface water monitoring stations in six hydrological catchment areas in Kafue, Chambeshi, Luangwa, Luapula, Tanganyika and Zambezi where water levels and river flow discharges are monitored.
“The low ground water can be attributed to reduced rainfall leading to less recharge and increased socio-economic activities that are dependent on ground water.
“With this scenario, it is highly unlikely that there will be full recovery of ground water levels under the 2019/20 rainy season,” WARMA public relations officer Joshua Kapila said.
This is a timely warning considering that a decreasing water table comes with many repercussions.
There are a lot of people in the country who depend on wells or boreholes as a source of water.
Those in rural areas and newly-developed areas which are not serviced by the utility companies all depend on underground water.
In cases where the groundwater levels decline too far, boreholes dry up and may require deepening or drilling new ones altogether. Drilling a new borehole altogether can be very costly.
This is why WARMA is advising residents of Eastern, Southern, Central, Copperbelt and Lusaka provinces to consider drilling boreholes which are 70 metres to 120 metres deep depending on the geology of a given area.
However, this still comes with an extra cost because more energy is required to pump water because of the depth but it cannot be compared to drilling another borehole.
The decline of the water table also affects water levels in rivers and lakes, which are major sources of water. This is because to a great extent, some of the water that flows into the rivers comes from the seepage of groundwater.
Reduced water table can also cause land subsidence. This is because when water is taken out of the soil, the support below the ground is lost and the soil collapses, though this also depends on the type of soil.
Needless to say there is need to come up with strategies to manage water resources to avoid depletion.
Given the insistent effects of climate change on the rainfall patterns, there is need to avoid indiscriminate cutting down of trees.
Alternatively, there is need to keep on replenishing the forests, especially the water recharge, areas with trees.
There is need to inculcate a culture of planting trees. Increased economic activities have to a large extent depleted trees leading to climatic change conditions and erratic rain patterns. There is urgent need to mitigate these effects of climate change to save water resources from depletion.
And as rightly advised by WARMA, there is also need for the public to employ water conservation practices at all times to ensure sustainable utilisation of the available resources. People should be sensitised to be cautious not to use running taps anyhow for instance when brushing their teeth, washing cars and watering gardens. It is these small practices that make the difference.
Let us remember that we have an obligation to ensure that natural resources are preserved for future generations otherwise posterity will judge us harshly.

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