Tag: featured

Zambia and DR Congo Strike A Deal on Management of Luapula River

Newton Sibanda
March 01, 2017

ZAMBIA and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are in the process of establishing the Luapula River Authority (LRA) to manage shared water resources between the two countries.

Zambia’s Minister of Energy David Mabumba said the riparian states are discussing the establishment an authority to manage the Luapula River joint resource.

“The Luapula River which is shared with the DRC has immense hydro potential which both countries want to tap but coming up with an authority will enable us utilize the water resource effectively.

“So we are in discussions with that country and very soon we will travel to Kinshasa (DRC capital) to finalise documents to come up with a special purpose vehicle to look after the water resource,” Mr Mabumba.

He said Zambia wanted to realize 1000 megawatts (MW) from the Luapula River Hydro-Power Project estimated to cost US$4 billion.

Zambia and Zimbabwe have the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) to manage water resources in the Zambezi River which is shared by the two countries.

Feature: World Bank and African Development Bank Support Mega Water Project In Rivers State Nigeria

Christian Maduka (Communications and Social Marketing Expert, PH)
March 1, 2017

Rivers State Government and the Port-Harcourt Water Corporation (PHWC) have embarked on implementing a project to provide water and sanitation services for the population of Port-Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Authorities (LGAs).

The project is part of a sector wide institutional reform embarked on by the Rivers State Government, and is planned to be implemented with parallel financing support by the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the Urban Water Reform and Port-Harcourt Water Supply and Sanitation Project, and by the International Development Association (IDA), hereafter also referred to as World Bank (WB), under the Third National Urban Water Sector Reform Project (NUWSRP3). The planned allocations to Rivers State include USD 200 million in AfDB funds and USD 80 million in IDA funds. The Rivers State Government co-financing amounts to USD 48 million.

The current population in the two LGAs is about 1.3 million, rapidly increasing, and expected to reach 4 million by 2040.

Water is central to human survival
Water is central to human survival

Currently, its citizens do not benefit from any water services of acceptable quantity, quality or reliability standards, as the water system is considered to be largely non- functional. As a result, the population obtains water from a combination of private boreholes/shallow wells (directly in their household or bought through intermediate vendors) and water sachets, with varying quality, costs and availability.

For sanitation, most households in Port-Harcourt and Obio/Akpor are served by toilets with on-site septic tanks or household pit latrines, while most public centers such as markets and lorry parks lack adequate facilities.

The project aims to improve access to safe water supply and public sanitation services in Port- Harcourt and Obio/Apkor and also to establish sound performance and long-term viability of the Port- Harcourt Water Corporation to ensure sustainability of services provided.

To this effect, the project is structured around four components: (i). Rehabilitation and expansion of the existing water infrastructure and construction of public sanitation facilities; (ii) Institutional Support covering capacity building of the recently established Port-Harcourt Water Corporation, consumer outreach, environmental protection, and longer-term planning for comprehensive sanitation services; (iii) Establishment of Public Private Partnerships for sustainable service operations; and (iv) Project Management. The population in the project area is primarily low income households, which requires special considerations in delivery mechanisms and tariff setting for affordability and sustainability.

The objective of the project is to increase access to potable water to 100% in the State. Notable projects identified in the development plan are: Port-Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Water Supply Scheme, Resuscitation and O&M of 40 water supply stations (incl. Port-Harcourt) and Hydrological and hydro-geological surveys and monitoring of groundwater in the state

For environmental sanitation, the State aims to ensure a pollution free environment and promote a healthy and sustainable green eco knowledge, attitude and practices of environmental sanitation improved and environmental standards and sanitary regulation enforced; (ii) All drainages are clean and flow freely to where they are channeled; (iii) 90% of population have access to internationally accepted excreta disposal systems, including modern sewerage treatment plants (iv) Rid the streets of Port-Harcourt of refuse sites; (v) Increase revenue base of the state through waste management; (vi) Implementation of integrated waste management system. Projects identified include: Construction of drainages in the State andWaste management (solid waste), hygiene education and promotion in 23 LGAs

Sanitation is also included and transport agenda which in aims the to “make State’s the State best in the country in terms of road network and drainage and system,” has identified (i) a comprehensive Drainage Master Plan for Port-Harcourt and Local Government Areas headquarters to be developed; and (ii) Town Planning which includes the preparation of master plans and design layouts for Port-Harcourt and other centers to face the challenge of an increasing population and inadequate infrastructure.

The Objectives of the Sector reform were to: Ensure that the existing abundant water resources of the state are provided in a sustainable and affordable manner. It appears there is a lot of water all over the state but none to drink; improve the overall efficiency and strengthen the institutions to deliver services effectively whilst maintaining standards in terms of quality and quantity. The corporation shall ensure customer satisfaction and be able to attract the right investment from the private sector; Create the enabling environment for Private Sector involvement in the water sector; and Promote the fact that water is both an economic good as it is a social good by encouraging and sensitizing customers to now pay for water to ensure the sustainability of the service for the future. Reform implementation focuses on addressing the challenges of governance, infrastructure, capacity, and funding.

The expected results from this gigantic include but not limited to the following: PHWC capacitated with the skills and tools necessary to ensure service delivery in line with international best practice, and commercial viability, A Public Private Partnership (Management Contract or similar) established, outsourcing the daily operations of the water system put in place , Pro-poor Unit established within PHWC, and the social connection fund is operational, Customer awareness raised for water conservation and the need to pay for water services, Tariffs applied that balance affordability with commercial viability and operational cost recovery, Climate Change Adaption and Mitigation plans established for PHWC operations, including Groundwater protection and monitoring, Key stakeholders (outside of PHWC) are capacitated with the skills and tools necessary to coordinate, oversee, and guide the continued and expanded water service provision in Port-Harcourt and Jobs created in relation to the scaled up water services (mainly operators)

This Project is part of 3rd Urban Water Sector Reform jointly funded by the WB and AfDB scheduled to be executed in 12 states of Nigeria. The Port Harcourt Water and Sanitation component of this Project was launched in Port Harcourt by the Governor of Rivers State Barrister Nyesom Wike on 15 April 2016 with Ramboll Environ Denmark as the Project Management Consultant. The project has long commenced with submission of its Inception Report and initial critical stakeholder’s engagement activities.

Cape Verde: Greenpeace Raises Awareness on the State Of Fisheries in West Africa

Water Journalists Africa
February 24, 2017

My Esperanza – the Greenpeace shipThe Greenpeace ship – My Esperanza has today docked at the port of Praia in Cape Verde. For eleven weeks the Esperanza will sail the waters of six West Africa States – Cape Verde, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal to raise awareness on the state of fisheries through political events, public engagement and consultations with the West-African science community.

The ship tour named “The West Africa tour of hope” will provide an opportunity to make these countries’ voice on protecting their own sea and marine resources heard internationally.

“By bringing the ship to West Africa, Greenpeace seeks once again to reiterate its ultimate commitment in working with local communities and governments in addressing issues of overfishing and illegal fishing that have plagued the region for decades” says the Greenpeace Africa Executive Director Njeri Kabeberi.

The West African waters are among the richest in the world. Millions of people and local communities depend on them to survive. However, the population in West Africa is growing and the fish stocks are declining as a result of fishing, climate change, pollution and destruction of critical habitats.

This situation is exacerbated by the lack of efficient fisheries management in the region, illegal, unregulated and undeclared fishing activities (IUU fishing) and the weakness of surveillance systems in most of the countries.

“Overfishing and illegal fishing in West African waters is a threat to food security, fish stocks and a healthy ocean. It is critical that the collaboration between states be reinforced to support a regional approach to better management of fisheries in West Africa”, says Ibrahima Cissé, Greenpeace Africa Senior Oceans Campaign Manager.

My Esperanza - the Greenpeace shipIn the last fifteen years, Greenpeace has documented and exposed how distant water fleets and illegal vessels have moved their fleets to West Africa after overexploiting fish stocks in their own waters. Chinese, Russian and European fleets are among the most prominent in West Africa waters.

Their activities have and continue to compromise the food security and livelihoods of coastal communities who largely depend on artisanal fishing. More recently, the rapid growth of artisanal and industrial fishery without regulation or planning of their capacity has added to the problem.

“West Africa States will have to work together and act with a unified voice to safeguard their waters. A sustainable common management of resources, especially the small pelagic is a first step to guarantee fish stock for present and future generations” added Dr Cissé.

In the next two months, the Greenpeace vessel My Esperanza will work closely with local authorities to increase the sense of urgency required to deal with the current unsustainable approach to fisheries management and call for a strong Regional fisheries management system.

Ethiopia: Experts Warn of Dire Consequences as Lake Turkana’s Water Levels Fall

WaterSan Perspective
February 15, 2017

Dropping water levels in Kenya’s Lake Turkana following the development of dams and plantations in Ethiopia’s lower Omo Valley threaten the livelihoods of half a million indigenous people in Ethiopia and Kenya according to the Human Rights Watch.

Based on publicly available data from the United States Department of Agriculture, Lake Turkana’s water levels have dropped by approximately 1.5 meters since January 2015, and further reduction is likely without urgent efforts to mitigate the impact of Ethiopia’s actions.

Human Rights Watch research based on satellite imagery shows that the drop is already affecting the shoreline of the lake, which has receded as much as 1.7 kilometers in Ferguson Gulf since November 2014.

The Gulf is a critical fish breeding area, and a key fishing ground for the indigenous Turkana people.

“The predicted drop in the lake levels will seriously affect food supplies in the Omo Valley and Lake Turkana, which provide the livelihoods for half a million people in both Kenya and Ethiopia,” says Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“The Ethiopian government’s moves to develop its resources should not endanger the survival of indigenous people living downstream.”

In 2015, the reservoir behind the new Gibe III dam in Ethiopia began filling. Water that previously flowed unimpeded into Lake Turkana, replenishing seasonal drops in lake levels, has since been held behind the Gibe III dam. In 2015 the annual July-November flood from the Omo River into Lake Turkana did not occur, resulting in a drop of water levels of 1.3 meters from November 2014. The very limited artificial release of water from Gibe III in 2016 was not enough to replenish water levels in Lake Turkana.

As of January 30, 2017, lake levels were approximately 1.5 meters lower than they were two years earlier according to the data.Lack of safe drinking water is one of the world's leading problems affecting more than 1.1 billion people globally. Most of these live in Africa.

Lack of safe drinking water is one of the world’s leading problems affecting more than 1.1 billion people globally. Most of these live in Africa.

People living in fishing communities along Lake Turkana who spoke to Human Rights Watch in August 2016, were generally aware of the risks posed by Gibe III but largely uninformed about the plantations and the devastating impact they could have on their livelihoods.

When Human Rights Watch visited communities around Ferguson Gulf on the western lake shores that month, local residents had noticed changes from previous years in the lake levels.

People who depend on fishing for their livelihood said that their daily catch has been reduced. One 50-year-old woman living near Lake Turkana told Human Rights Watch in August 2016: “It has been difficult these days…the main issue has been hunger. There is reduced water in the lake.”

While multiple factors contribute to the decline, including overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices, a further drop in lake levels will most likely reduce catches even further.

The Kenyan government has done little to address the impact from Ethiopia’s Omo Valley development, or to press Ethiopia to take steps to mitigate the damage and to consult with and inform affected communities about the impact of the project.

The governments of Kenya and Ethiopia should urgently work with these communities to ensure upstream industrial works does not devastate their livelihoods, Human Rights Watch said.

In addition to the industrial developments in lower Omo, climate change is exacerbating the already significant problems the Turkana people face in getting sufficient food and water, and maintaining their health and security.

“The Ethiopian government has shown scant regard for the lives and livelihoods of already marginalized communities who are reliant on the Omo River and Lake Turkana for their livelihoods,” Horne said. “In its rush to develop its resources it has not developed strategies to minimize the impact on those living downstream.”

Ethiopia’s Gibe III dam, which opened on December 17, 2016, is a key component of a massive industrial project in the lower Omo Valley that includes a cascade of water-intensive mega dams, and sugar and cotton plantations. The sugar plantations have been under development in the Omo Valley since 2011.

Based on Human Rights Watch estimates derived from satellite imagery, approximately 19,500 hectares of land has been cleared on the east bank of the river for sugar plantation development. An additional 10,500 hectares has been prepared for irrigation on the west bank.

The sugar plantations are planned to be 100,000 hectares. According to the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, the first of the four sugar processing factories should be ready to begin production in early 2017.

In Ethiopia, livelihoods of those living in the Omo Valley depend on cattle grazing and planting crops in the rich alluvial soil along the banks of the Omo River. This alluvial soil is replenished by the annual flood, which deposits water and nutrient rich sediment along the banks. A lack of floods in 2015 and an inadequate artificial flood in 2016 are making it more difficult to grow food along the Omo River.

Some communities have also reported restricted access to the Omo River and food shortages in 2016. Furthermore, the plantations necessitate clearing of land used by agro-pastoral indigenous groups including the Bodi and the Mursi. The Bodi have been the most heavily affected, with a significant area of their land cleared.

“The projections of the water drawdown on Lake Turkana, routinely rubbished by Ethiopia’s government, are coming true and lake levels have started dropping,” Horne said. “This should serve as a warning about what could happen if the Ethiopian government continues to ignore the needs of downstream communities in its rush to develop its resources.”