ENVIRONMENTAL AND WATER QUALITY UNIT
The WRM Act has mandated WARMA, in consultants with any appropriate authority, to specify the environmental flow requirements of any water resources (Section 43). Section 44 has mandated WARMA to specify the reserve for all or part of a water resource and that such determination of the reserve shall ensure that adequate allowance is made for each component of the reserve. The WRM has mandated WARMA to develop water conservation management practices that minimise waste of water, encourage sustainable and efficient use of water and improve the quality of water. Section 46 stipulates that a person shall not use any water purposes of diluting any effluent with a permit issued under the WRM Act. Discharge of any effluent into any water resource shall be done according to the Environmental Management Act No 12 of 2011. Section 47 has mandated WARMA, to collaborate with the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), recommend to the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) ambient water quality standards and ensure that the standards are maintained. Section 47(2) has mandated WARMA to, in collaboration with ZEMA, monitor the resource quality and control the pollution of any water resource. Sections 48 and 49 have outlined steps WARMA will take to control and prevent pollution of any water resource and proposed penalties for persons failing to comply with the requirements. Section 50 has mandated WARMA, in collaboration with ZEMA, to establish resource quality objectives for any water resource and publish the same in tabloids of daily circulation.
What is Water Quality?
Water quality is a term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for an intended purpose. These characteristics are controlled or influenced by substances, which are either dissolved or suspended in water. The quality of water that is required for irrigation is not the same quality that is required for drinking water. Therefore, the general meaning of water quality is to know if the water is good enough for its intended purpose or use, be it for domestic, irrigation, mining or industrial purposes. Good water quality contributes to a healthy ecosystem
What is Water Quality Management?
Water quality is changed and affected by both natural processes and anthropogenic or human activities. Generally, natural water quality varies from place to place, depending on seasonal variations, climatic changes and with soil types, rocks and surfaces through which it passes.
A variety of human activities e.g. agricultural activities, urban and industrial development, mining and recreation, potentially significantly alter the quality of natural waters, and changes the water use potential. The key to sustainable water resources is, therefore to ensure that the quality of water resources are suitable for their intended uses, while at the same allowing them to be used and developed to a certain extent. Effective management is the tool through which this is achieved. Water quality management, therefore involves the maintenance of the fitness for use of water resources on a sustained basis, by achieving a balance between socio-economic development and environmental protection.
Why do we need to manage Water Quality?
The effects of polluted water on human health, on the aquatic ecosystem (aquatic biota, and in-stream and riparian habitats) and on various sectors of the economy, including agriculture, industry and recreation, can be disastrous. Deteriorating water quality leads to increased treatment costs of potable and industrial process water, and decreased agricultural yields due to increased salinity of irrigation water. On the other hand not all health, productivity and ecological problems associated with deteriorating water quality are ascribed to man's activities. Many water quality related problems are inherent in the geological characteristics of the source area. The water qualities that may affect the integrity of the environment and the water's fitness for use