For the first time in its young history, the Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) releases an annual report to inform the general public about its achievements. Addressing key water users present, Hon. Lloyd M. Kaziya, Minister of Water Development, Sanitation, and Environmental Protection, ceremonially cut the ribbon on the report, launched the organisation’s new logo and wished staff and WARMA’s newly nominated board members a successful year 2018.
Hon. Kaziya emphasized the critical importance of managing Zambia’s water resources for the key sectors of the economy, namely agriculture, energy, mining and tourism and encouraged all stakeholders to cooperate with authority.
Mr. Lemmy Namayanga, Acting Director General, presented WARMA successes of 2016. With highlights from managing the surface and groundwater resources in the nation’s six water catchments, he emphasized on the need to address pollution in Zambia’s rivers, the importance to protect their headwaters and the necessity to allocate water resources equitably through Catchment and sub-catchment management plans.
Important steps were also taken in establishing the decentralized structures of the organization, a prerequisite for the management of a resource that does not stop at administrative boundaries. While the organization is managing Zambia’s water resources since 2014, he reiterated that the launch of the Annual Report is an important step in informing the general public about the organisation’s activities.
Enriched with a broad cultural programme, the launch event provided an opportunity for key water users from the energy, agricultural and beverage sectors to discuss with nature conservationists the critical aspect of water security for their operations.
WARMA proves that the authority is willing to break new grounds to manage and safeguard Zambia's water resources for our and future generations.
Zambia’s Waters! Our Future!
The Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) is an autonomous body established by the Water Resources Management Act, No. 21 of 2011. WARMA exercises control over all water resources in Zambia as envisioned in the Water Resources Management Act. The Act set out provisions to regulate the use of water in Zambia by considering or issuing of water permits with the exception of international shared water bodies.
Zambia's Water resources are important for economic growth and the well-being of society. Drying river flows, drying boreholes and reduced water for power generation are clear signs of how land-use and climate change are impacting water resources and consequently on the livelihoods of citizen lives and the economy as a whole.
Why Water Needs to be Managed?
Water is a resource with high value to the daily lives of millions of people and the Zambian economy. Major business sectors like nutrition, tourism and even the building industry rely on steady water supply. Zambia depends on groundwater: 60-70 percent of all water used in the country comes from this source. Even though the country is richly endowed with a lot of water in the form of rivers, lakes and swamps, its agriculture is mostly rain fed. At the same time, Zambia’s electricity sector is heavily reliant on hydropower (over 95%). The country’s citizens and industries rely on the valuable resource for daily life and operations.
Access to water is a basic human right which is often threatened when the resource is not properly managed and not available in adequate quantities and/or quality. Water as an economic good contributes to the prosperity of a nation. Water-related conflicts and disputes in Zambia are already apparent due to competing uses, namely domestic, the environment, commercial agriculture, hydropower and mining. Therefore, water has to be managed by a neutral authority to ensure equitable access for all user groups and prevent and mitigate further conflicts.
According to the Seventh National Development Plan (2017-2021) there is a strong correlation between economic growth, industrial growth and water consumption. According to a report by the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute, economy-wide annual losses due to load shedding in Zambia amount to 32.5 ZMW billion (representing 18.8 % of GDP) while losses to the agriculture sector are estimated at 2.83 ZMW billion (representing 1.6 % of GDP).
Paying for water emphasizes the value of the resource and encourages measures to protect future access. Of course, the community right to drinking water and ensuring sufficient flow to maintain the environmental values needs to be sanctified.