Saturday, September 20, 2008

Masebo ties provision of safe water to MDGs

Masebo ties provision of safe water to MDGs
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Saturday September 20, 2008 [04:00]

THE provision of safe water and adequate sanitation is critical to the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), local government and housing minister Sylvia Masebo has said.

During the handover of 14 project vehicles to 12 districts for the water sector programme support yesterday, Masebo said in order to promote sustainable provision of affordable and socially acceptable safe water supply to the rural population, the government through her ministry had mobilised financial and technical assistance from the Royal Danish Embassy to drill 785 boreholes in 12 districts.

She said these include all the seven districts of Western Province, two districts in Lusaka namely Kafue and Chongwe and the three districts in Southern Province namely Kalomo, Itezhi-Tezhi and Namwala.

"The 785 boreholes are only for the first contract. By 2010, we intend to construct and rehabilitate about 1,600 boreholes in the 12 districts. This is expected to greatly improve the water supply situation in the respective districts," she said.

Masebo said the principle of community contribution of five per cent towards the cost of water supply infrastructure development and 100 per cent towards the cost of operation and maintenance should be clearly explained to the beneficiaries.

She said it was government's belief that community financial contribution towards construction and maintenance of water supply facilities would contribute to community sense of ownership of facilities and promote sustainable water supply.

Masebo said this was important for sustainable provision of clean and safe drinking water, which was necessary for reducing outbreaks of waterborne diseases, which contribute to ill-health and poverty in most rural areas.

And Danish Embassy Charge d'Affairs to Zambia Peter Jul Larsen said the vehicles to be handed over were part of Denmark's support to the water sector, which in its current phase was a five-year water sector support programme with a budget of approximately K200 billion in the period 2005 to 2010.

He said as part of its contribution to the water sector, the Zambian government had committed a budget totalling approximately K16 billion for the same period.

"These vehicles were procured at a cost of US$355,000 as part of the five year Danida Water Sector Programme Support to Zambia. These new vehicles should significantly improve the capacity of the 12 districts and the Western Water Company to implement the on- going rural and rural water supply and sanitation components of the national water and sanitation programmes," said Larsen.

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