Zambia is a rapidly growing country in southern Africa. This growth is as a result of rich mineral wealth, but for Zambia to continue growing sustainably, resources such as water need to be managed appropriately. However, access to water and sanitation remains low. Water is also critical for many livelihoods in Zambia that depend upon watercourses for their housing, grazing and fisheries. Industries using water in their operations, often face water shortages. These limitations create challenges for economic growth in Zambia, including the ability to trade.
SAB Miller have operations in Zambia, and wanted to better understand the economic impact of inadequate water access in across Zambia. We were approached to interrogate the status of water resources, sanitation and supply across the country, taking into account the economic and productive use of the resource. The purpose of the study was not to use the traditional arguments for improved water resources management. Instead, it was to use innovative thinking, in transferring the opportunity cost of poor water management into economic terms so that the true value can be unlocked. We identified core narratives as the project outputs, aimed at the public and private sector, in an effort to catalyse improved water resources management in Zambia.