WaterAidWaterAid Zambia and Jacana signed a Memorandum of Understanding for five years. Both parties foresee challenges realising Sustainable Development Goal 6.1 by 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
The biggest problem for Zambia will be to provide water for everybody, also people living in small communities. Zambia is sparsely populated (average 23 people/km²). Until now Government and many NGO’s use machine drilled boreholes with India Mark2 community pumps. This approach was designed for 250 users in a radius of 500 m (250 people/0.78 km² = 318 people/km²). The costs per water user in the community of for example 100 users is 180$ and for communities of 50 users the costs is 380$ per user for this conventional approach. Which donor would be willing to pay that? More important: which small community will be able to maintain these expensive solutions?

Zambia population density
Zambia is not the only sparsely populated country in Africa.

Zambia is not the only sparsely populated country in Africa. The images show number of people per km².

What should we do: leave those people behind without safe water? Or are we looking for other options?

Jacana and WaterAid will research alternative options to reach everybody in Zambia.

We will be looking at a practical mix of Self-supply, more affordable solutions, different ownership models and combining water with income generation. Self-supply means that families buy their own water source without interference from Government or NGO’s.

Suitability for manual drilling

Jacana worked for the last two years in Chipata District and trained manual drillers and local pump manufacturers, this is called SMART water solutions. SMART stands for Simple Market based Affordable Repairable Technologies. At this moment, 112 families in Zambia have their own affordable borehole with rope pump made by 18 local entrepreneurs. These private owned pumps not only provide water for their households, on average each pump also serves 10 families in the neighbourhood. Water is a resource that is shared free of cost. Manual drilling of boreholes is possible in 90% of Zambia. In fact, SMART manual drillers receive requests from all over Zambia and have already been drilling successfully in several corners of the country.

WaterAid and Jacana understand that not every family in Zambia can afford a borehole with a pump. Together we investigate ways to reach families with limited budget. For example, Zambian Government already gives out subsidies for fertilizer to small scale rural farmers. This is the exact same target group. Maybe in future a similar subsidy could be established for affordable water solutions? Together with WaterAid, Jacana will look into this and other options.

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