Integrating Household Water treatment and Safe Storage Practices in Zambia’s National Water Policy for Effective Regulation, Evaluation and Sustainable Water Provision
KANYUNGE, Claydon Mumba
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Providing safe water to the poor in developing countries is a challenge that has persisted through decades of international development efforts. Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS) has been put forth as an interim solution that could reduce the burden of waterborne diseases. The study aimed to examine HWTS practices and the quality of water in households of peri-urban communities of Lusaka, Zambia. The study was conducted in three peri-urban areas in Lusaka, namely, Chaisa, Kanyama and Ngombe. These communities were selected based on the presence of Water Trusts, population size and water-borne disease outbreak statistics. Twenty-six households were selected randomly. The study revealed that 42% of participating households treated their water by chlorination, boiling and SODIS (Solar Disinfection). It further revealed that 73% of the households that treated their water noticed a reduction in the occurrence of diarrhoeal diseases that could have resulted from the consumption of contaminated water. It was observed that 50% of the households obtained their water from private boreholes, while 42% and 8% of the households collected their water from kiosks and shallow hand-dug wells respectively. Seventy-three per cent of the households stated they store their water in both buckets and jerrycans, 12% stored their water in buckets and jerrycans only while 4% of households stored water in drums. Secondary data from literature revealed that Zambia does not have any National Policy or Strategic Plan document that addresses HWTS. In addition, the study revealed that the Zambia Bureau of Standards is responsible for certifying HWTS products but does not include any details of requirements for certifying HWTS in its certification policy document. The major challenge regarding the formulation and implementation was lack of government involvement in HWTS methods and performance analysis being practiced in Zambian communities. Furthermore, the study revealed that several countries, such as Ghana and Tanzania, have formulated Strategic Plans that address HWTS, which Zambia can learn from.