Despite Zambia’s high dependency on groundwater – approximately 60 to 70% – its importance is often underestimated because it is underground and therefore invisible. As the old adage goes, “out of sight, out of mind!” Also invisible are the problems that arise once groundwater is polluted.
Until 2018, 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.

Development of Statutory Instruments 19 and 20 to regulate Groundwater and Boreholes

The regulations on groundwater and boreholes will tackle the issue of groundwater protection in order to improve both the quality and quantity of the resource. The regulations will improve water quality by, for instance, ensuring boreholes are not too close to sources of contamination. This not only applies to domestic boreholes but will also help ensure that commercial utilities such as Lusaka Water & Sewerage Company (LWSC) are able to supply adequate quantities of safe and healthy water to their customers.

The regulations were the outcome of a long consultative process with multiple stakeholders, including Drillers, Commercial Farmers, Mining, Hydropower companies, Industrial Companies, the general public and various other interest groups.

The public consultation started with the meeting for stakeholders in April 2016 followed by a series of thematic stakeholder meetings for Farmers, Hydropower, Industry, Mines and Municipal water users in Choma and Mkushi. The result of these meetings was a revision of the initially proposed Fees and Charges following the advice of the various stakeholder. This reduction in the final SI was due to the feedback WARMA collected from the stakeholder meetings.

Application Process

Registration of a Borehole

Documents the applicant needs to submit:

  • Completed and signed form (Application to drill a borehole).
  • Proof of consent from the landowner or certified title deed or letter of property sale.
  • Domestic users: A sketch map or sitemap covering a radius of 30 meters showing property boundaries, road, distance from septic/pit latrine or any other potential pollution source.
  • Non-Domestic users: A borehole site investigation report containing the planned location, existing boreholes within 250m, distance from any pollution source, proposed depth of borehole and casing diameter.

Registration of a Drilling Company

Documents the applicant needs to submit:

  • Application form
  • PACRA-Shareholding
  • Proof of updated EIZ Registration Company
  • Proof of Hydrogeologist/Geologist EIZ updated practicing License
  • Credentials of Drillers Supervisor
  • Credentials of Drillers
  • Membership of Drillers association of Zambia
  • Information about:
    • Rigs,
    • Cargo Trucks,
    • Pump testing Kits,
    • Support Staff.