May 24, 2017
Luapula Province in Zambia has several rivers and at least two lakes within its boundaries, yet access to safe water has been a challenge. The common saying in Luapula province, ‘water is everywhere, but not enough to drink’ has been fading away, as access to safe water has been on the increase over the years. This has been with continuous support from the Government of Japan, through Japan International Cooperation Agency, working with the Zambian Government.
JICA has constructed a total of 416 boreholes fitted with hand the pumps through the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Grant Aid Project for the Groundwater Development in Luapula Province. As a further follow-up, the Japanese Government extended the grant amounting to 858 million Japanese Yen for the Phase 3 from Fiscal Year 2014 to provide more safe drinking water in the region and build a mechanism to maintain boreholes and piped water facilities which resulted in the construction of an additional 176 such boreholes and 5 piped water facilities in 6 Districts of Luapula which include Mansa, Mwense, Chipili, Nchelenge, Milenge, and Chembe.
24th May, 2017 saw the commissioning of the project for groundwater development phase 3, a ceremony held at Kapala village of Mwense district, in Luapula province. The ceremony was attended by over 500 people including Japanese Ambassador to Zambia Mr. Hidenobu Sobashima, JICA Resident Representative Mr. Junichi Hanai, Hon. Lloyd Mulenga Kaziya, Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, Hon. David Mabumba, Minister of Energy, Hon. Nixon Chilangwa, Minister of Luapula Province, traditional leaders, other invited guests and many local residents.
Lack of clean and safe drinking water and better sanitation services is one of the key factors contributing to poverty in the country and the world over. Low access to water has resulted in waterborne-related diseases and deaths in some parts of the country. The modernisation of water supply and sanitation facilities in Luapula through the JICA project is part of the contribution towards the attainment of the Vision 2030. Access to clean and safe drinking water, and better sanitation services and good health have potential to spur the country's socio-economic development.
In addition to the boreholes constructed over the years, the piped water supply schemes which further reduces the distance to water points, and provides the right approach to community development, which provides a sustainable solution that can bring significant economic benefits to people living in rural villages. Indeed, since people now depend on water for economic purposes (and not just for drinking) there is a much greater willingness and ability to pay for water and at higher tariffs than they would have accepted if they had to draw and carry water from a borehole. Not having water is no longer just an inconvenience but a financial disaster if the crops in the garden fail or chickens die.