With 40 percent of the water in Southern Africa finding itself in Zambia, it is time Government seriously looked at its use following the evident effects of climate change which is affecting our rain pattern and causing the water table to go further down.
At the moment, we don’t think Zambians are using their water bodies to advance the development of the country.
If anything water, which can be used in most sectors of development, is being misused or not properly used.
Therefore, there is an urgent need for Government to come up with policies that will guide the usage of water in rivers, dams and other water bodies.
Currently, the water in most rivers flows without any discernible plans for it to be tapped and stored in dams for irrigation of crops and other use when there is no rain.
About 10 years ago, there was an irrigation fund that was launched which currently is never talked about even when seed capital was deposited into an account.
This was after Government piloted winter maize growing when there was maize crop failure.
In fact, currently, there are farmers, though commercial, who have been using the irrigation system to grow maize and other crops.
This, therefore, is the direction that our farmers should take so that the complaint of lack of rains for crop failure can be a thing of the past.
Apart from feeding our crops with irrigated water, properly used, our water bodies can effectively support aquaculture.
There is no need to largely depend on fish from the lakes and rivers when dams can be erected for fish farming.
Currently, what is evident is the free flow of the water from the source, across the country and into the oceans.
Government should design water use development programmes that would ensure water is not wasted or underutilised.
Zambia has heard about water rights but there seem to be little education over the matter to ensure effective usage of the commodity.
This is the reason why we are calling on Government to ensure there are effective policies on the usage of water so that it could work for the good of all Zambians.
With 40 per cent of the Southern African water resources in Zambia, we don’t think it is right for farmers to be complaining about a drought.
We should not be complaining about lack of adequate water for use by Zambians.
We believe new effective water management policies are important to get the best out of our lakes, rivers and other water bodies.