Water Supply And Sanitation Essay

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CHAPTER ONE

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

1.1 Introduction
The operations and maintenance of water supply and sanitation systems had been a responsibility of the local authorities in Zambia since early 1970s. The development and establishment of these systems was done by the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) under the Ministry of Energy and Water Development (MEWD) who after completion of the projects handed the schemes to the local authorities to operate and maintain.

Due to failure by most local authorities to run the schemes efficiently, the management of water supply and sanitation sector was divided amongst various ministries, department and district councils. Additionally, a number of parastatals, missions, non-governmental organisations
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Previously, all townships and established compounds in Zambia were provided with 24 hours supply of clean and safe drinking water. All tap water was well treated and fit for human consumption. Providers of sanitary services too, used to respond promptly each time there was a blockage and worked flat out until the problem was solved. This was followed with disinfection of the whole area with chemicals to ensure that it was free from pathogens.

With time, however, the quality of services both water supply and sanitation started declining. Water supply became erratic and with a lot of clogging of pipes. Sanitation services too declined, blockage in the sewer system, local authority workers started taking long to respond to the problem, thus allowing sewer effluents to flow in the streets posing danger to human life especially children. After unblocking, however, no spraying with disinfectant was done to the affected area to clear pathogens. This greatly contributed to the spread of diarrheal diseases leading to loss of
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Zambian government wanted to uplift the standard of living of its people especially the poor. This included the provision of water supply and sanitation services at a subsidized rate and in some cases free of charge. This was done through local authorities who were responsible for operations and maintenance of these schemes. This caused government to overstretch and overestimate its own ability and capacity to manage these services. The role of the government in water supply and sanitation services ended up weakening the capacity of local authorities resulting in a state of inadequacy in the sector, which was characterised by erratic water supply, low coverage ratio, obsolete infrastructure and also inadequate funding. Due to failure by most local authorities to deliver satisfactory services to the people, the government authorised the Department of Water Affairs in the Ministry of Energy and Water Development to take over the responsibility of operating and maintaining the water supply and sewerage schemes from local

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