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Mike Mposha

Sustainable water use strategy timely

WATER is life, so states an old axiom. Indeed, water is life because without it, there would be no living organisms on earth.
Water is a basic necessity for the functioning of all forms of life on earth. Water is the reason behind earth being the only planet which supports life.All animals and plants need water to survive, and the human body is more than three-fourths water. Various life-forms use water to carry nutrients around the body and to take away waste. Water also helps break down food and keep living organisms cool, among other very important functions of the resource. Water in the human body plays the role of a transportation vehicle, medium for chemical reactions, lubricant or shock absorber, and the temperature regulator. Taking enough water every day is important for one’s health because water prevents dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood change, cause one’s body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number six stresses the significance of ensuring access to clean water and sanitation for all.
It is one of the 17 SDGs established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. It targets achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030.It further aims to attain access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations. That is why the efficient and sustainable use of water cannot be over-emphasised. This is the rationale behind Government’s decision to formulate the National Water Resources Strategy and Plan whose implementation will result in equitable and sustained use of water resources for national and socio-economic development. The 2022-2030 strategy and plan was launched yesterday by Minister of Water Development and Sanitation Mike Mposha. It seeks sustainable, management, development, and utilisation of Zambia’s water resources in an integrated, decentralised, and equitable manner for climate resilience. The launch of the document is timely because Zambia has been experiencing extreme effects of climate change which call for sustainable use of water resources. This is because over the past couple of years, Zambia has experienced and continues to endure climate change effects, especially through increased variability in the water cycle. “This has compromised the predictability of water availability, water quality for various uses, and exacerbating water scarcity, thereby threatening the socio-economic development of the country,” Mr Mposha said. We commend Government for launching the strategy and plan because many Zambians have difficulties in accessing water.In times of disease outbreaks, the marginalised are the most severely affected because they do not have any sources of water to ease the disease burden. And if many people get sick as a result of drinking contaminated water, the country’s economy gets affected because productivity dwindles and subsequently the gross domestic product (GDP). Government expenditure rises because of procuring medicines for treating the many sick citizens. Productivity of companies and industries get disrupted due to risen absenteeism among their sick workers.
In rural areas, women and children bear the worst brunt as they spend most of their time fetching for water from distant sources which are often shallow wells.As a result, children’s school attendance goes down because they get so tired that they cannot manage to go to school. Even in low density suburbs of cities, people resort to using ground water whose chances of contamination are high, and the trend threatens depletion of ground water resources.Sanitation in these areas becomes doubtful because people use septic tanks which pollute ground water resources. We, therefore, applaud Government for formulating a policy document for sustainable use and management of water resources in the country.Our appeal is to cooperating partners to support Government’s efforts to effectively implement the strategy and plan for the benefit of the current and future generations of Zambia.