‘Invest in water infrastructure’

A RESEARCH company has called on businesses operating outside urban zones to invest in water infrastructure to meet operational requirements.
Business Monitoring International (BMI), a research firm that provides macro-economic, industry and financial market analysis, said Zambia is rich in natural water resources, but under-investment means that water supply and sanitation services are inadequate to meet domestic demand, especially in rural areas.
This is contained in a statement availed to the Daily Mail.
“The lack of water infrastructure is a significant risk to businesses operating in Zambia as limited water infrastructure in rural areas has major cost implications for the private sector,” it says.
It says freshwater reserves are vital to reducing utilities and transport risk in the country, providing high levels of hydro-power potential, multi-modal transport options, and ample water supply for pivotal agriculture and mining sectors.
The BMI says agribusiness and mining companies must establish independent irrigation facilities and water treatment plants for input and waste water, which requires significant capital investment to install.
It says this is a problem factor for business start-ups limiting participation and productivity in key sectors such as agriculture. However, does not impinge on Zambia’s investment competitiveness.
“In 2014, total water withdrawals reached 108 cubic metres per capita, or the 13th highest in the region, with industry consumption at 8.27 percent, domestic consumption at 18.4 percent and agricultural consumption at 73.2 percent,” it says.
Within this, the BMI says importance of agriculture to economic revenues and employment is reflected in the high level of consumption from the agricultural industry.
However, agriculture and growing domestic demand could in time interfere with electricity generation from the country’s hydropower sector, particularly in years of low rainfall.
As a result, agricultural production, domestic consumption, and energy generation may come into increased competition with each other, necessitating the diversification of electricity sources in particular.

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