The proposed law to give Zambia’s Water Authority Management Agency (WARMA) the power to regulate underground water usage, will have an adverse effect on farming communities, borehole drillers have warned.
Operators interviewed in Lusaka reckoned the new law would increase the turnaround time from one day to a month.
“This will be very bad for the farmers,” said one Lusaka-based operator, who wished to remain anonymous. “From what we have gathered it will be quite a cumbersome process that will include submitting designs and testing of waters by WARMA before one can get the approval,” he added.
Sources within WARMA have said that the move has been taken to alleviate the threat to the nation’s water security. The drafting of the law believed to be in its advanced stages was against a backdrop of drying dams and reduced underground water recharge.
However, there were mixed reactions from the farming community. Some applauded the development while others thought it would be an unnecessary additional burden on WARMA.
Farmer Billy Tutu took to social media observing that WARMA had no capacity to enforce the proposed law.
“All I can say is good luck to WARMA,” he said on his Facebook page.
Tutu was joined by several who thought that WARMA was already buckling under pressure to oversee national water management. One critic pointed out that reported infringements of river diversions remained unattended to for months.
On the flip side, an anonymous farmer who’s had bad service from drilling companies, welcomed WARMA’s decision to regulate.
“I think it is good because these companies exploit us by doing shoddy work and demanding excessive amounts.