Editor's Comment

Regulation of borehole companies welcome

THE boom of the real estate sector has put pressure on utility companies for provi-sion of services to the developers.

Yet, this is not supposed to be the case because the local authorities, in conjunction with these utility firms, are supposed to be well ahead of developers.
When the local authorities or real estate agents identify land for commercial or residential housing development, they are required to collaborate with water and electricity utility firms, including the road development agencies, to ensure that amenities are provided well in advance.
However, in Zambia, the opposite has been happening because amenities have been chas-ing land developers, especially those who have built houses.
This has seen power and water utilities facing a backlog of applications from people impa-tiently waiting to be served like yesterday.
People are in need of clean, portable water just as they are in need of power.
However, they can sacrifice and live without power but not water – it is life.
Clean, portable water is not negotiable because it is the cornerstone of good hygiene.
But because the utility companies cannot provide critical services such as water at the rate at which the consumers want them, there has been a boom for borehole drillers and opera-tors.
There has been an astronomic increase in the number of boreholes constructed in newly-established housing initiatives, just as there has been a good number of citizens in shanty townships depending on shallow wells for their water supply for domestic use.
When water supply is delayed by utility companies, people will be forced to find water, hence the outbreak of boreholes.
This is because consumers like those in Ndeke and Vorna in Lusaka, among other areas of the country, now feel that water utilities are not serving them.
Factories and farms, too, are relying on groundwater for agricultural and industrial use.
This has also spawned several borehole drilling firms, which are offering the service to any-body in need of groundwater.
The proliferation of borehole drilling firms has had a downturn because it has contributed to contamination of groundwater.
That is why Government wants to regulate borehole drilling companies to reduce intake of contaminated water.
This measure is expected to eradicate cholera.
Minister in the Office of the Vice-President Sylvia Chalikosa said there is need to start sink-ing industrial boreholes, which are about 70 metres deep or more.
Ms Chalikosa feels that the companies that drill boreholes are short-changing people as they are only providing casing up to about 12 metres when access to safe water goes deeper than that, which may be about 70 metres or so.
Government is therefore trying to redress the situation by engaging drilling companies to do the correct thing.
We call upon drilling companies and citizens to take interest in the wisdom from the Office of the Vice-President because it is responsible for disaster risk reduction.
The counsel by the Office of the Vice-President is more critical now than ever, going by the discourse regarding cholera, which has ravaged the country.

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