OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE FOR COMMERCIAL WATER UTILITIES IN ZAMBIA
Copyright (c) 2019 EPH - International Journal of Business & Management Science (ISSN: 2208-2190)
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Water commercialization/privatization has been a controversy in Africa and world-over in urban and peri-urban areas from the time of its inception to date. Though the objectives have been good in terms of efficiencies, it has some good non-efficiencies reasons for intervention by governments and other partners such as social and political ones. Many commercialization/privatization of water utilities have been formed out of pressure either by donors or from pressure resulting from market economy. Each commercialized/privatized water utility has/had its own experience. This case study of the opportunities available for commercial water utilities in Zambia focused on investigating opportunities available for exploitation for Southern Water and Sewerage Company Limited and describing factors that influenced performance. The research involved a review of secondary data and discussions with key informants. The study used a descriptive approach in its investigation from 10 districts found within the service area of Southern Water and Sewerage Company Limited of Zambia. Even though commercialization/privatization has continued in other parts of the world today, the controversy or resistance had continued. Variables that were look at are from the social, economical, environmental and political dimensions. Social variables looked at accessibility and affordability; economic variables are; investment, financing, revenue collection, unaccounted-for-water, metering ratio, labour productivity, service coverage, number of connections, operations and maintenance cost coverage, hours of supply, water production and sanitation coverage; environmental variables are sewerage coverage, water quality, policy and regulations, and political variables are the government, stakeholders, civil societies etc. The result of the study revealed that social, efficiencies, environment and political variables are significant in explaining the influence of the opportunities available for commercial water utilities in Zambia with respect to Southern Water and Sewerage Company Limited. All the variables under the social, economic, environment and political are important and depend on each other if a viable water supply and sewerage company has to grow. Ignoring one of them results in social and economic problems. Despite the huge challenges identified in the water supply and sewerage, surprisingly the challenges were turned into opportunities available for business exploitation. The positive relationship among the social, economic, environment and political factors is that they all contribute to company growth. The Southern Water and Sewerage Company has to make water accessible and affordable to society in urban and peri-urban areas of Southern Province because water is a human right and has to provide water in an efficient way in order to make profit. The environment has to be
conducive for the water utility to operate. It also depended on partners to fund most of its infrastructure development. Therefore, growth of water supply and sewerage services would depend on the available opportunities identified from the four social, economic, environment and political factors of the water governance. Therefore, strengthening policy that would include the social, economic, environment and political factors will quickly transform the water supply and sewerage services delivery in the ever increasing
demand areas of urban and peri-urban of Southern Water and Sewerage Company Limited.
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