WARMA to regulate drillers for a better service for Zambians.

LUSAKA, July 2018: This press release is in response to the numerous press queries received from media houses regarding the compliance levels on the newly introduced groundwater regulations.

The Authority advises that enforcement of Statutory Instruments No. 18, 19 and 20 of 2018 namely; Fees and Charges, Licensing of Drillers & Contractors and Groundwater & Boreholes Regulations respectively is progressing well.

The response from the Public has been overwhelming due the need for Zambia to manage its waters to ensure equitable access for all. The Authority had initially faced inertia both from drilling companies and the public due to lack of information and in certain cases misinformation.

However, after the presentation of Ministerial Statement in Parliament by the Hon Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, Dr D. Wanchinga; MP a number of issues were clarified and the nation has since appreciated the spirit and efficacy of the newly introduced groundwater regulatory framework.

The Authority has continued to hold public sensitization meetings and has also engaged the public and private media for information dissemination all aimed at increasing the level of public awareness. The Authority is generally happy with compliance levels and further wish to encourage all borehole owners to register their boreholes before 30th September 2018. Adherence to these Regulations will make Zambia a better country when it comes to water governance.

The public is further informed that the regulations affect all drilling activities in the country including donated (community or otherwise) boreholes. It is in this regard that all Local Authorities, Non-Governmental Organizations, Government departments and private companies/citizens contracting drilling services should ensure that they follow laid down procedures which include obtaining written authority from WARMA before embarking on any drilling activities The Authority also wishes to share the following statistics from the time the Statutory Instruments were launched (9th March 2018),

No. of Licensed Drilling Companies 62
No. of applications received to drill a borehole 1,364
No. of applications granted that have been granted authority to drill 1,176
No. of Rejected Applications 12
No. of applications under verification 176
No. of Registered Boreholes 681

The rejected applications were denied authority to drill due to objections received from water utility companies as the areas where these boreholes have been requested are already serviced by the said water utility company and in certain cases proximity to pollution sources.

In case of any further clarifications on the Statutory Instruments or any other water resources management related issues, the public is encouraged to get in touch with the Authority.

Issued by

Lemmy N. Namayanga
Acting Director General

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.