By George Chilufya , student of Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Engineering. Lusaka, Zambia.
My name is George Chilufya. I live in Lusaka the capital city of Zambia. The population in Lusaka has rapidly grown over the years to about 2.1 million largely due to its ever increasing role as a commercial and industrial center apart from it being the government headquarters.
For many years after attaining independence in 1964 Zambia ran a socialist kind of economy in which the government was the main provider of all social amenities ranging from health, housing, education and water among others. However, in 1991 there was a change of government. The new administration led by second Republican President Dr. Frederick T. J. Chiluba (late) implemented a free market economy. In an effort to promote home ownership as well as spur new housing construction to meet the ever increasing demand for accommodation the government decided to sell almost all the state owned and parastatal housing stock in the country to sitting tenants. Seeing that majority of the people did not benefit from that decision to buy houses the government went further to facilitate opening up new areas for construction by the private sector. As a result of that action majority of the people then had an opportunity to build their own houses. I was among the majority who did not benefit. Nevertheless, I also took an initiative to find land in the year 2000 and started constructing a family house. We finally moved into and occupied our completed house in August, 2008. That was an excitingly memorable time for my family and I for it meant that we would no longer be paying rentals to the landlord which would mean that the money we were going to save would be used for other things. However, the new location where we moved was just being developed into a site and service area and did not have all the municipal services such as water. The municipality had set up a few water kiosks around the community where they vended the water from a central municipal supply. The kiosks opened early in the morning from about 4:00 AM to 09:00 AM. Our closest kiosk where we bought water for our daily use was located about two kilometers away which meant that we had to fetch water every day. For the size of family that I have it meant that we had to buy two drums (that is 2 x 210 liter containers) every day. Due to the increasing population in the new area and the insufficient supply from the local authority people were forced to wake up as early as 01:00 AM to queue up for the water. Those who did not manage to fetch water from the kiosks ended up going further in search of the commodity or drew from shallow wells which water was usually not fit for human consumption. We endured and fetched water in that manner for two years while we saved for the drilling of a borehole.
While we got established in the new community we identified the opportunity to start a business of rearing and selling broiler chickens. We built a backyard chicken house big enough to accommodate 500 birds. The new venture entailed an additional daily requirement of 240 liters of water during brooding and rearing to full maturity and sale of the chickens which would be in cycles of eight weeks before re-stocking. To alleviate the problem of the increased demand for water for home use as well as for the chickens we had to hire a water drilling company which sunk a 50 meter borehole using the money we had saved since moving into our home. We then installed a submersible pump and mounted a reservoir and life became at least pleasurable for the family and the birds too.
The water source that we drilled did not only solve our family’s water needs but it also became an alternative fetching point for the people in the neighborhood which means that they no longer have to wake up so early to queue up for long hours in search of water. We allow the community to fetch water from 06:00 AM to 06:00 PM at a small fee which goes to cover maintenance and electricity costs of running the pump. In the absence of the city council providing sufficient clean water that initiative we undertook has made a huge difference in the lives of the people in our community. The burden of fetching water has eased people’s lives, as the age old proverb goes, “Water is Life”