THE Minister of Water Development and Sanitation Mike Mposha has said that the Government remains committed to ensuring that safe water and good sanitation is provided for the Zambian people in line with sustainable development goal number six.
Sustainable Development Goal six is about clean water and sanitation for all.
In a speech read for him by ministry Permanent Secretary Joe Kalusa, at the official opening of the 11th Zambia water forum and exhibition Mr Mposha said Government was cognisant of the critical role water played in supporting economic sectors such as agriculture, energy and tourism.
He noted that access to clean and safe drinking water had continued to be a challenge for many countries Zambia inclusive, but that the Eighth National Development Plan had set out a commitment to correct the situation among other policy directions that the Government had put in place.
“As a clear demonstration of Government’s commitment at the highest level in our country, President Hakainde Hichilema launched the Zambia Water Investment Programme (ZIP) on 16th July, 2022 which aims at mobilising $5.75 billion for Water Security Investments and creation of about 200, 000 formal jobs in Zambia by 2030,” he said.
He said the Government had also made key policy directives of accelerating water harvesting to increase national water storage capacity and construction of waterborne sanitation facilities in all public institutions and places such as schools, health facilities, markets and bus stations.
The minister said this was aimed at ensuring national water security and attainment of universal access to clean and safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services in line with the Vision 2030.
He, however, said the costs of not increasing access to clean and safe drinking water and adequate sanitation were high for both people and the economy hence the need for concerted efforts from all.
And World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) country director Nachilala Nkombo noted that the 2018 demographic survey revealed daunting numbers of people accessing clean water with slightly over 30 per cent of the Zambian people having access to clean water and good sanitation.
Ms Nkombo said WWF was committed to supporting the Government to achieve its agenda on water.
“Climate change is here to stay, so there is a need to find consistent efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change,” she said.
And the United States Agency for International Development deputy mission director in Zambia Robin Sharma praised Zambia for placing high premium on improving the water and sanitation challenges including the expanded constituency development fund..”
Mr Sharma said many people in Zambia still did have access to water but that this should be looked at as an opportunity for the private sector to invest in.