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PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu at the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a US$449 million Kafulafuta Water Supply System Project in Masaiti on Friday. PICTURE: SALIM HENRY/STATE HOUSE

Water vital for development

GOVERNMENT’S commitment to improving the health and livelihoods of its people has once again been evidenced in the commissioning of the Kafulafuta Water Supply System project in Masaiti district.
The project, which is wholly funded by Government, at a cost of US$449 million, is aimed at improving water supply in Ndola and the surrounding towns of Luanshya, Masaiti and part of Mpongwe.
Government envisages that the setting up of this project will improve quality and quantity of raw water for treatment and use in the beneficiary towns.
The project, which was commissioned by President Edgar Lungu on Friday, will also result in the construction of water collection infrastructure and transportation pipeline system.
The fact that water remains a vital commodity for everyday use cannot be overemphasised.
That is why it is said ‘water is life’ because it forms the core of a number of vital activities from the household level to the national level.
Water is also cardinal in promoting socio-economic development and the welbeing of communities.
It is also essential in the prevention of diarrheal diseases. It is for this and many other reasons that the United Nations earmarked it as an important milestone in meeting the sustainable millennium development goals on access to water and sanitation for all by 2030.
The lack of water supply in communities affects mostly women and, as observed by President Lungu during the launch, they have to leave home early and walk long distances in search of the commodity.
The construction of this dam is a way of easing the hardships that women, especially those in rural areas, experience.
This means that they will have time to engage in other ventures that can improve their socio-economic status at household level. It is such collective efforts that add up to an improved socio-economic status at the national level.
But furthermore, the dam can bring benefits such as improved food production and livestock farming at household level which can result in increased food security.
And the President said the project will result in job creation, during and after its construction.
With these numerous benefits, it is incumbent upon the beneficiaries of this mammoth project to realise their role and show that Government commitment to help them is bearing fruit.
The danger of residents taking for granted such projects as being Government’s responsibility to provide them should never arise in the minds of the beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries of such a huge and expensive project have an obligation to guard it against vandalism so that it supports their activities for a longer time to come.
With the effects of climate change on the environment, water resources have been adversely affected in a number of regions and such well-meaning efforts that bring water closer to the people should be appreciated.
The dam is a massive infrastructure, going by the towns it aims to services and this is testimony of Government’s quest to improve the quality of life in those areas.
And the assurance by President Lungu that this project is just one of the many interventions Government has embarked on in addressing the water supply challenge in our country is a positive indication of many other such projects.
It is therefore important people work with Government to make access to water a reality in their areas.