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Publication Details

Reference
Chitonge, Horman (2006) Commercialisation of urban water in Zambia: Origin, dynamics and challenges. Centre for Civil Society CCS Seminar Series: 1-13.

Summary
Evidently the water supply and sanitation sub- sector in Zambia has undergone major reforms. Although water sector reforms have been on going since the early 1970s, it is in the early 1990s that the water sector started receiving adequate attention. Major reforms in the water sector in Zambia began in 1993 when the government started formulating the national water sector reforms which culminated into the National Water Policy (NWP) in 1994. These reforms were meant to address a number of challenges in the sector which among them were Inadequate institutional and legal framework, deterioration of water supply and sanitation services, limited developed human resource capacity, inadequate coordination among a multiplicity of actors in the water sector, low coverage in water supply and sanitation services, inadequate stakeholder and community participation, limited and ever decreasing capital investments and budgetary allocation to the sector, and the need to adapt to emerging international trends in water management. To address some of these challenges, a number of strategies and programmes have been formulated and implemented. One such strategy is the commercialisation of the water supply and sanitation services. The presence of the commercial utilities scene (CUs) on the water services has occasioned both positive outcomes and new challenges. Among the positive outcomes are improved service levels such as increased service hours, collection efficiency, improved CUs capacity and management skills, depoliticisation of water services and bringing in of professionalism in water service operations. Overall, though these positive results have been recorded in general, the situation looks very different for particular areas especially peri-urban areas. On the other hand, one of the major challenges that commercialization has occasioned is the conspicuous absence of the state from the actual process of delivering water services in urban areas. Similarly the absence of civil society organization that are addressing water issue in peri-urban and low income communities has been noticed.

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