Lusaka’s demand for water, currently estimated at 600,000 cubic metres per day, is outstripping supply which relies on groundwater and the Kafue River. Both of these important sources are under threat due to land-use degradation, pollution and over-abstraction. The newly-launched Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) will focus on water security in the Lusaka Province, focusing primarily on the Lusaka City urban area including vulnerable urban compounds. However, in order to achieve water security in Lusaka, LuWSI must also support the sustainable management of the Kafue River.
The all-inclusive Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) has taken off on the backs of multi-sectoral intervention which became reality early December 2016.
LuWSI has taken off with a call to private sector, public sector, civil society, academic and international partners to synergize interventions and join hands together with Government to find solutions to alleviate the rapid drop of water levels in Lusaka.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, Edward Chomba officially launched Initiative at InterContinental Hotel on December 2, on the basis of 16 partners and LuWSI signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to ensure the capital city attains water sufficiency.
Chomba was pleased that the collaborative nature of the LuWSI fell in line with the Government’s 2030 Vision and the inclusive approach taken in developing the Seventh National Development Plan.
The permanent secretary quoted President Edgar Lungu who at the official opening of the First Session of the Twelfth National Assembly on September 30, 2016 emphasised “the importance of building an integrated multi-sectoral approach to development that enhances inclusiveness in development without leaving anyone behind.”
LuWSI is a multi-stakeholder collaboration system inspired by and working towards the vision of water security for the residents and businesses of Lusaka.
LuWSI focuses on five action areas:
- Groundwater pollution prevention through resource protection and improved sanitation;
- Sustainable groundwater exploitation;
- Sustainable water management in the Kafue River Basin;
- Access to water supply and sanitation services in an expanding city; and
- Urban flood risk management;
At its core, it is a multi-stakeholder partnership between public sector, private sector, civil society and international actors, creating a platform for dialogue and governance structure for joint decision-making. Currently, LuWSI has 16 partners from different sectors.
Funded by the German Cooperation, UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and International Water Stewardship Programme (iWaSP), LuWSI seeks to engage partners in dialogue, analysis and knowledge generation, advocacy and awareness raising, project development and resource mobilisation.
This calls for LuWSI’s partners collaborating with each other and other actors to implement strategic projects to concretely improve water security for Lusaka’s residents and businesses.
German Ambassador to Zambia Achim Burkart said the LuWSI partnership would among other advantages help to overcome climatic change effects.
On the same day, there was an MoU signing ceremony between LuWSI and 16 partners. The ceremony was witnessed by a cross-section of representatives from the corporate sector, Government agencies, regulatory authorities, academia, civil society and the diplomatic corps.
The MOU will facilitate the mutual sharing of best practices, expertise, awareness raising, planning and project development, and professional development in water security.
At the MoU signing ceremony, UNICEF Zambia Representative Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim observed: “By tapping into a platform dedicated to building dialogue, UNICEF has greater potential in developing for itself a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to water, sanitation and hygiene. This is a new approach that keeps in mind the ultimate goal for lifting the most vulnerable out of poverty, but also understands that it cannot be done by Government or NGOs alone.”
LuWSI seeks to continually upgrade its capabilities through collaborative partnerships to keep abreast of new capabilities and methods for win-win solutions. It is intended to expand the number of partners in the future.
In his concluding remarks, the Permanent Secretary Chomba, stated: “By reiterating my Ministry’s commitment to champion the cause of water security, both for Lusaka city and more broadly across the country, I also wish to encourage all those in any position of power in Government, private sector and civil society to take a keen interest in LuWSI to ensure it is firmly rooted in our local institutions and that it succeeds beyond donor support.”
MoU signing partners included: Lusaka City Council, Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company, Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), Water Resources Management Authority, National Water and Sanitation Council, Zambia Chamber of Commerce and industry (ZACCI), Zambian Breweries Plc, University of Zambia, Water and Sanitation Association of Zambia, Women for Change, Village Water Zambia, Zambia Homeless and Poor People’s Federation, UNICEF, WWF Zambia, The Nature Conservancy and GIZ.
In a statement, LuWSI described its mission as “to strengthen multi-stakeholder collaboration to safeguard Lusaka’s water resources while enhancing the sustainable and timely access to water and sanitation for all. At its core, it is a partnership between public sector, private sector, civil society and international actors.”
The statement adds that “partners engage in inclusive dialogue and collective leadership, collaborating on analysis and knowledge generation, advocacy and awareness raising, planning and project development, and capacity-building.”