The Water Resource Management Authority – WARMA has extended the registration date of boreholes from 30th September 2018 to 30th March 2019.
A check on Friday 28 September by the Zambian Business Times – ZBT at WARMA offices in roads park along Addis Ababa drive found the busy road almost closed as members of the public made last minute efforts to make the payment to avoid the penalty.
In a press release made available to the ZBT by WARMA Acting Director General Lemmy Namayanga, WARMA has made the extension is to allow the general public to come forward and register their boreholes .
He further stated that the extension only applies to the existing boreholes while those wishing to register the sinking of new boreholes are not exempted.
The Acting Director said the Authority has so far received overwhelming response from the public as they have been able to register 10,106 existing boreholes.
The water authority also confirmed that 93 Drilling companies have been licensed. A total of 5,152 applications to drill boreholes were made, of which 15 were rejected.
Namayanga has since called on the public to abide by the law and take advantage of the extension to register their boreholes to avoid facing a penalty fee of K30, 000.
Recently, the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and environmental Protection signed three Statutory Instruments on ground water and boreholes, Licensing and drilling.
Earlier last month, WARMA told ZBT analyst during a breakfast media briefing that the borehole registration fee being collected by the Authority and the licensing of drilling companies is not tax or a way of generating revenue for the government but for ensuring that safe measures are taken when drilling boreholes in order to manage the quality of underground water resources in the country.
The Cholera outbreak earlier this year 2018 which disrupted the school and business calendars across the country for about two months and led to loss of lives has made the management of the quality of underground water a must to prevent future recurrence.
The economic cost in lost business hours or incomes as well as the cost of treatment of the Cholera pandemic is also prohibitive. The loss of lives and the desperation the pandemic brought onto Zambia makes prevention the best alternative.
Even before the onset of the rainy season, Cholera has broken out in neigbouring Zimbabwe and it remains to be seen how Zambian Authorities that include the Public Health department of the Ministry of Local government and WARMA will this time around proactively work to prevent recurrence.
WARMA should, instead of just concentrating on collection of borehole fees, also be seen to be testing underground water and taking appropriate action especially in areas prone to water bone disease outbreaks for members of the public to appreciate their role, as it stands, most sections of society are yet to appreciate the efficacy of the fees being levied.
One of the key actions agreed to prevent future Cholera recurrence was the upgrading of the Public health Department and the set up of a National Waste Management Utility company to be charged with the full resposibility for waste management across the country. A check by ZBT with local government has revealed that these two key actions are still pending and garbage heaps has started to spring up near markets and residential areas, a breeding ground for possible Cholera recurrence.