IT IS not in doubt that the inadequate rains received in the last rainy season has affected all sectors of the economy as evidenced by electricity load shedding and the erratic water supply by utility companies.
Although rains have contributed to the water problems being experiences, Zambia has not managed well its abundant water sources and yet it enjoys 40 percent of the water bodies in the sub-region.
Even if Zambia is land locked, the country boasts of five main rivers and lakes.
Zambia has lakes in the names of Mweru, Bangweulu, Tanganyika and Kariba Dam.
The major rivers are Zambezi which is the longest and largest; the Kafue, which eventually pours into the mighty Zambezi; the Luapula river; the Chambeshi, and the Luangwa river, which also flows into the Zambezi which pours its water into the Indian ocean.
Despite this abundance of water, less than 30 percent of Zambia have access to clean water.
This is for this reason that we welcome Government’s intention of constructing 15 additional dams and rehabilitating the 80 already existing.
With the effects of climate change so evident; lack of rains and the water table going further down, having well-functioning dams is ideal.
Zambia has not managed its water resources meaningfully well and this can be attested by having 80 dams in a deplorable state.
Assuming the 80 dams dotted all over Zambia were in perfect state serving their purpose of storing water, we do not think Zambians would have been complaining about the low water.
Instead of the river water making its way to the Indian Ocean, Zambians could have been conserving some in the 80 dams.
And instead of the rains only improving the water table levels, the dams could have been extra reservoir for rain water.
This is the reason why we are commending Government for deciding to construct 15 additional dams and to rehabilitate 80 others currently in existence in its quest to develop the water sector in the country.
The construction and rehabilitation of dams should not be just one of that Government pronouncement but a statement which will be backed up immediate financial action.
This decision should not be allowed to simply because Mother Nature will be kind to us and give us rains in the next few.
What should this process of construction of dams and rehabilitation of other is the long term fear that climate change is with us and we might not have rain water all the time.
Therefore, it is important that we prepare for the future water emergencies rather than cry for help when a crisis has hit us.