83% of fresh water species of Kafue basin depleted – WWF report

WWF Zambia

World Wide Fund for nature – WWF Zambia Country Director Nachilala Nkombo disclosed that 83% of fresh water species in the Kafue Water Basin catchment area have been depleted by just two generations due to climate change, pollution and unsustainable water retraction.

The WWF report of the water situation analysis study was focused on the stretch from Itezhi-tezhi Dam to the confluence of the Zambezi River. It includes an investigation of the water resources of the Lower Kafue basin, the ecological requirements for a functioning river, and water demands and trade-offs.

The Kafue water basin accounts for the livelihoods of an estimated 50% of Zambia’s population and is central to agriculture, hydroelectric power and other vital industry sectors. The GDP for the Lower Kafue Sub-Basin is estimated at $5.1 million. The Kafue water basin is key to the country’s economic prosperity. As Zambia’s economy expands the demands on the basin have increased, putting it at risk, which also means putting the country’s entire economy at risk.

The Lower Kafue Basin Water Situation Analysis Report, produced by the World Wildlife Fund Zambia (WWF) and sponsored by Zambian Breweries has underpinned the need for the river and its catchment area to be conserved to ensure a sustainable quality water supply.

Minister of Water Resources, Sanitation and Environmental Protection Dr Dennis Wanchinga, says Water resources infrastructure is a critical component in the provision of sustainable water resources management and services for engineered irrigation, drainage, water supply and sanitation, hydropower generation, flood control and food security.

“The water analysis report gives a clear picture of the challenges and possible solutions to the problems faced in the Kafue river basin, we look forward to working with the private sector to solve the problems and preserve one of our most important water sources,” Dr. Wanchinga.

During the launch of the report on Tuesday 6 November 2018, the minister added that government will work with all partners willing to conserve the precious resource and seeks to actualize recommendations of the report as it seeks to improve water access.

Dr. Wanchinga further noted that Zambian Breweries was complementing government efforts to ensure water resources were properly harnessed, developed and managed. He urged the private sector to emulate Zambian Breweries in activities that promote human and socio-economic development.

Zambian Breweries country director Jose Moran said the brewer recognizes water as a critical resource for economic, social and environmental wellbeing. “We are committed to running our operations with the highest level of water efficiency and collaborating with organisations such as WWF Zambia to make a long-term impact in sustainable use of water.

As part of our parent company AB InBev’s 2025 Sustainability goals, we strive to measurably improve water availability and quality for our communities – especially those in high stressed areas,” he stated. The Zambian Breweries whose vision for a better world includes sustainable water stewardship sponsored the water report.

“We realise that different companies bear risks due to the water challenges of the Lower Kafue, from the risk of decreasing production or increasing costs, to losing commercial opportunities, or reputational risks. In the recent past, investors have been increasingly engaging in initiatives to improve water management. For this reason that we welcome the leadership of, and value the partnership with, Zambian Breweries in promoting efficient and effective use of the Kafue basin water resources,” he narrated.

The government is yet to initiate its own study with its recently formed Authority (Water Resources Management Authority – WARMA) which is currently grappling with ground water pollution and borehole registration. WARMA recently embarked on a recruitment drive for inspectors and is yet to register notable impact on water resources management in Zambia