“Managing Water Supply Challenges”

… LWSS’s Response to Load Management and Drought

By Francis Maingaila

Lusaka, Zambia24 (13-05-2024) – The Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation (LWSS) has attributed the impending water rationing to ZESCO and advised people to follow the ZESCO schedule for water supply.

Jilly Chiyombwe, LWSS Managing Director, stated that the company requires approximately 12 million kilowatt-hours per month to ensure adequate water supply.

He noted that the country loses about 8 hours of production due to load shedding, affecting service delivery.

Chiyombwe highlighted LWSS’s plan to invest in alternative water and energy sources to ensure uninterrupted supply.

Today, May 13th, 2024, marks the onset of water rationing due to ongoing load management by System Limited Company and ZESCO’s impacts on southern Africa, including Zambia’s underground water sources.

Chiyombwe clarified that LWSS currently produces about 330 million liters of water per day against a demand of 480 million.

“With 53% of water sourced from surface water and 47% from boreholes, load management results in a daily production loss of over 8 hours, reducing supply hours from 18 to 10 daily,” he said.

Dependency on electric-powered pumping systems makes LWSS vulnerable to ZESCO’s power disruptions.

He explained that LWSS’s current power demand is approximately 12 million kilowatt-hours per month, projected to rise to 17 million with new wastewater treatment plants.

To counter load management’s effects, LWSS is adopting solar PV as an alternative energy source and installing diesel generators at sewer pumping stations.

Anticipating drought’s impact on underground water levels, LWSS implements water rationing to conserve groundwater and ensure equitable distribution.

Chiyombwe outlined LWSS’s strategies for sustainable water supply, including engagement with ZESCO, exemption of critical facilities from load shedding, and network upgrades.

In the long term, LWSS plans to expand its water network across Lusaka and launch public awareness campaigns promoting water stewardship.

Despite challenges, LWSS remains dedicated to providing clean water. Chiyombwe urged customers to use water responsibly and report leakages.

Water rationing is necessitated by ongoing load management and drought’s impact on underground water sources.

Dependency on hydroelectric power makes LWSS vulnerable to power disruptions, prompting rationing to preserve water resources.

LWSS is exploring alternative energy sources like solar PV to mitigate load management’s effects on water supply.

Chiyombwe assured that LWSS would communicate with customers through various channels and address concerns during supply disruptions.

The company remains committed to water quality and plans to drill boreholes in cholera-prone communities as an alternative during rationing.

Additionally, LWSS will investigate complaints about brownish water and uphold water safety standards.

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