The water resources management authority – WARMA has registered low compliance levels in implementing the borehole registration regulation. As a regulator, WARMA is charged with the responsibility for managing and regulating the use of Zambia’s water resources in an integrated, participatory and sustainable manner based on human, land, environmental and socio-economic considerations.

The regulator has so far after the introduction of borehole registration and accompanying fees to be used for underground water quality maintenance, raised about K325,000 after having only about 1,300 registered and paid for boleholes.

During an exclusive interview with the Zambian Business Times Analyst, Lemmy Namayanga who is WARMA’s Director General said that so far, the response from the public has been well from some sections of society. He stressed that everyone needs to understand that this fee that has been put up is not a tax but rather a regulatory fee to help manage the quality of ground water resources.

Namayanga said that the K250 fee is not even enough for the work that is put in because the administrative budget of underground water regulation is higher than what the authority is getting back. And so this should just be seen as an insurance that your borehole is protected much from the ones that would want to drill another not more than 20 meters away leading to yours drying up sooner than expected.

“we are creating a national borehole data base and at the moment 18,000 boreholes have been imputed into the data base and then going forward, we have asked the drillers to collect water samples on our behalf so we know the quality of water that is underground in a given locality in Zambia. That is why the K250 fee has been put up considering that administrative costs to maintain the underground water quality are high”, Namayanga said.

When asked in terms of WARMA’s contribution to the treasury, Namayanga said that a request was sent in from the minister but it cannot be honored for now as they have not collected enough, Yamayanga disclosed that deadline for registration is supposed to be 30th September 2018, but the ministry is asking us to consider extending. The challenge is on domestic boreholes, we are managing well and are collecting fees for most of the commercial boreholes users.

Yamanana further adviced the public that it would actually be better if they considered coming together and have just one borehole drilled for them to share among a small number of houses especially the ones that are building for it would be less costly and best way to secure ground water.

The Director General said WARMA has inspectors whose job is to ensure that there is compliance and measures have been put for those who do not abide to the authoritys procedure by registering. They will face a charge of K30,000 or imprisonment for not less than 1-2 years. He added that this is not to scare the people but is rather there for their own benefit, underground water quality is key for public health.

Namayanga expressed concern on the building of houses on the spaces and water catchment areas that were left when planning saying those spaces were left out for a great purpose which is recharge Zones to help collect a good quantity of water into the ground for maintaining a good water table.

WARMA is an authority whose main function, as spelt out in the Water Act of 2011 is “to promote and adopt a dynamic, gender-sensitive, integrated, interactive, participatory and multisectoral approach to water resources management and development that includes human, land, environmental and socio-economic considerations, especially poverty reduction and the elimination of water borne diseases, including malaria”.