Access to water is a basic human right which is often threatened when the resource is not properly managed and not available in sufficient quantities and/or quality. Water is also an economic good in that it contributes to the prosperity of a nation. However, in Zambia conflicts are already evident between the competing water uses; households, commercial agriculture, hydropower and mining. Therefore, water must be managed by an independent authority to ensure equitable access for all user groups and prevent further conflicts.
Water management as part of a sustainable future
According to the Seventh National Development Plan 2017-2021, there is a strong correlation between economic growth, industrial growth and water consumption. According to SADC, 14 percent of the total annual renewable water resources in the SADC region are stored, compared to 70-90 percent in most industrialised regions.
In addition effects of climate change already have had a serious negative impact on Zambia’s water resources availability, mainly due to inadequate water resources infrastructure and management. As a result, the country continues to experience low water levels causing load shedding of electricity, consequently adversely affecting production. According to a report by the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute, economy-wide annual losses due to load shedding in Zambia amount to K32.5 billion (representing 18.8 % of GDP) while losses to the agriculture sector are estimated at K2.83 billion (representing 1.6 % of GDP).
Paying for water illustrates the value of the resources and connects measurements to protect future access. Of course, the community right for drinking water and ensuring sufficient flow to maintain the environmental values needs to be sacrosanct.
Groundwater management to prevent a future health crisis
Despite Zambia’s high dependency on groundwater – approximately 60 to 70% – its importance is often underestimated because of the nature of this valuable resource. Until now, groundwater was not regulated in Zambia. However, this has had negative effects on both the quantity and quality of groundwater in Zambia. This problem is more severe in larger urban areas like Lusaka with its many unplanned settlements where boreholes are often in very close proximity to septic tanks and pit latrines. Although groundwater is underground, it is still highly susceptible to contamination from sources above ground, such as sewage, rubbish and industrial waste. It is this very contamination which contributes to public health problems such as the recent cholera outbreaks we have been experiencing.
Welcome to the website of the Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA). As a statutory body under the WRM Act No. 21 of 2011 WARMA is tasked to effectively manage Zambia’s water resources, be it surface water or groundwater and not only in terms of quantity but quality as well.
This website aims to inform all stakeholders about WARMAs work and important developments in the water sector.
- About Us will explain the background, the mandate and the vision of the organization.
- Permits and Applications will provide information about the process of applying for a Water Permit or a Drilling License, how to register a borehole.
- The Information Center gives an overview about WARMAs current projects and offers stakeholders information, policies and fact sheets from the water sector to download.
- Catchments informs about WARMAs work in the regions and how water resources management works.
- The Media Room provides useful resources for representatives of the media and other stakeholders, including press releases, media kit and current press contacts.