Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) public relations manager Patson Phiri says the Kafue Bulk water supply project has reached 90 per cent completion and is expected to be commissioned early next year.
And Phiri says Lusaka will by next year have two systems supplying water, pumping around 260 million litres, in order to meet the city’s demand.
Meanwhile, Phiri has assured residents in areas where there has been water shutdown, that it will be restored by today.
In an interview with News Diggers! Monday, Phiri said the Kafue Bulk water supply project had reached 90 per cent completion and was expected to be commissioned by the first quarter of next year.
He added that the project was born out of the need for LWSC to upscale its production capacity to meet the demands of Lusaka City.
“We have reached 90 per cent with the construction of Kafue Bulk water supply project. This project was born out of the need for Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company to upscale its production capacity in terms of water, to meet the demands of the City of Lusaka. The population was growing whilst the investment in water expansion was static for more than 50 years. What this means is that, at the time Lusaka water systems were being constructed, the systems were made for 800,000 people. From 800,000 people, the population has grown to about 15,000,000,” Phiri said.
He said about US $150 million was invested in the construction of Kafue Bulk project.
“Now to match with that production, government engaged the Chinese government and a financier was identified, Exim Bank of China. So, Exim Bank of China funded the Zambian government to undertake the project. About $150 million was invested in the construction of Kafue Bulk project. And we have now reached 90 per cent. This means that the 10 per cent is basically the final touches of the project,” he explained.
“These have to do with connectivity, finishing the pumping station at Chilanga or booster station, because when water comes from Kafue into Chilanga, it loses power. So, at Chilanga, it needs to be boosted so that it reaches Lusaka with pressure. So, that booster station is also almost finishing.”
He added that the project would be commissioned next year because it was massive and needed its own sub-station.
“Now, why are we going to commission it in the first quarter of next year? One, the Kafue Bulk project is too big, it’s quite massive. So, it requires its own sub-station. So, it means in the remaining months, we will have to construct a sub-station so that it can power that machinery. When we finish, most likely January, February and March, we should be able to commission it,” he narrated.
And Phiri said the existing pipeline was also under rehabilitation in order to enhance its capacity.
He said the pipeline was expected to start pumping 110 million litres per day from 90 million litres per day.
“Apart from that, there’s another project, which involves the rehabilitation of the existing pipe line. So, that one is being enhanced in terms of production capacity. It now pumps 90 million litres per day. But there’s a contractor working with Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) so that we can increase its production capacity so that it starts pumping 110 million litres per day,” he added.
Phiri further said the Kafue Bulk water supply project would be expected to pump about 150 million litres per day when commissioned.
He noted that around 260 million litres of water was expected to start flowing into Lusaka when these projects were commissioned.
“If you add 110 million litres per day plus 150 million litres per day, which is coming on board through Kafue Bulk, the total volume of water that is expected to start flowing into Lusaka when we commission these projects is around 260 million litres per day. So, from 90 million litres, it will move to 260 million litres per day. This is part of the effort to try and enhance production so that we bridge the gap. It won’t be enough to take care of 15,000,000 people, but we will just bridge the gap between the shortfall and what we are supplying now,” he said.
“So, the existing production pipeline is called plant number one. What is being constructed now is the second one; we will be calling it Iolanda number two. The existing one has a pipeline that takes water to Lusaka; the new one also has a separate pipeline, which will be taking water from Kafue into Lusaka; so, both will feed Stuart Park. From there, that’s where water is distributed to various parts of the city. The idea is to avoid these complaints that, ‘no there’s no pressure, water is not coming, but we are just receiving bills’. So, we want to ensure that we give them [consumers] the services. We are going to have two systems supplying water.”
Meanwhile, Phiri assured Lusaka residents in areas where there was a water interruption that normal service would be restored by Tuesday.
“Secondly, we have a shutdown currently in most parts of the City of Lusaka. But water is coming tomorrow (today),” assured Phiri.