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Water authority raises the alarm, says boreholes in Lusaka West, Makeni, Chongwe, others may dry up


Boreholes with high groundwater pumping rates are likely to dry up in Lusaka Province by August 2024 due to the ongoing drought, water authorities have warned.

The Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) has identified Chalala, Makeni, Lusaka West, and Chongwe as areas at risk of drying up by August/September in Lusaka.

Smart Kalaluka, WARMA’s Senior Public Relations and Communications Officer, confirmed this in a statement issued in Lusaka on Tuesday.

Kalaluka noted that the prolonged drought has caused groundwater levels to drop significantly, particularly in the Southern, Western, Eastern and parts of Lusaka Provinces.

“The Authority has also observed insufficient groundwater recharge in 84 drought-affected districts,” he highlighted.

In Southern Province, streams that support groundwater recharge have dried up earlier this year compared to previous years.

However, Kalaluka mentioned that routine groundwater monitoring shows that water levels have not been significantly impacted in areas with low pumping rates.

“In response, WARMA has intensified compliance inspections and enforcement in the drilling sector,” Kalaluka stated.

Read More: EU announces €5.1 million emergency support for drought-hit Zambia, highlights strong partnership

This included ensuring that only licensed drillers are permitted to conduct drilling and that all drillers install GPS devices on drilling rigs to monitor and prevent illegal drilling.

Kalaluka also announced that the authority had granted 152 water permits out of the 152 water permit applications received during the drought emergency response for various commercial activities. This brings the total number of water permits in WARMA’s database to 2,294.

“The issued water permits comprise 83 surface water permits and 69 groundwater permits to support various economic sectors such as agriculture, recreation, industry, aquaculture and mining,” Kalaluka stated.

He encouraged the public to engage qualified and registered geophysical consultants to carry out borehole siting to avoid drilling shallow boreholes that are prone to drying up.

“WARMA is also urging the public to be conservative in their use of water to enhance resilience during the drought period,” Kalaluka advised.

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