Zambia: Itawa Springs Protection Project

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Department of Water Affairs/Water Resources Management Authority, Ndola City Council and Ward Councillor, Zambia Environmental  Management Agency, Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company, National Heritage Conservation Commission, Community Committee representatives, Ministry of Health, Interim Upper-Kafue Sub-Catchment Council, Kamfinsa Water Users Association, Zambian Breweries Plc, Zambian Railways


The Itawa Springs, located in the city of Ndola, Zambia, is an important tributary to the Kafubu River, which accounts for between 50-60% of the water supply for both domestic and industrial use for the cities of Ndola, Luanshya and Masaiti. Furthermore, a large number of homes, many small-scale farmers and brick-makers depend on the Itawa Springs to meet their subsistence, domestic and economic needs. Zambian Breweries also relies on the springs for their industrial production needs.

Indirect users of the springs include any users of products with water footprints from the Itawa Springs. This includes vegetables grown along the Kafubu River.
Despite its local importance, this shared water source is under significant threat due to land degradation and pollution caused by brick making and unregulated effluent discharge.


Approach and Objectives

In 2012, Zambian Breweries approached the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to form a partnership with public sector and community stakeholders.

The collaboration was initially part of the Water Futures Partnership, a global strategic alliance between SABMiller (Zambian Breweries’ parent company), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and GIZ. Now, as part of the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP), the multi-stakeholder committee has developed and is implementing a comprehensive protection and management plan for the springs.



Through a highly participatory process, the multi-stakeholder committee has developed a protection and management plan which details:

  • Establishing engineering works for the protection of the springs, including storm water and effluent structures, building water kiosks as an alternative water supply to the community and improving the natural pool’s safety
  • Restoring native vegetation and removing alien species
  • Demarcating protection zones, including the relocation of households within the core protection zone
  • Educating and awareness-raising campaigns
  • Clean-up events, and
  • Establishing legal protection status for the springs

The partners have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to guide stakeholder engagement in the project. A community engagement programme, which includes capacity building for the community and awareness-raising on issues threatening the springs, has been an essential element in supporting community input on the design and implementation of measures under the partnership. Members, together with the community, have developed a relocation road map of houses within the core protection zone, to assist the city council in the process of relocation.

Numerous project activities have already begun, following an implementation inauguration ceremony in November 2015. Beacons have been established to demarcate the protection zones, water kiosks are being built, and ecological restoration is underway, as in the form of a community tree nursery established to aid in the reforestation of the area. Mechanical interventions to restore degraded areas that have been affected through quarrying and farming are also underway.

In addition, the partnership has helped to build the capacity of public, private and civil society stakeholders to work together to be more resilient to future change. This is achieved through engagement in meetings, cross-sectoral interactions and knowledge-sharing.

Challenges and Outlook

Community engagement has been successful, which is a very relevant outcome for the project, especially in light of challenges faced with different motivations, capacities and interests of the partners.

IWaSP will continue to strive for high participation from local communities in committee meetings and the implementation of agreed measures to ensure the sustainability of the restoration and conservation project. In the longer term, IWaSP aims to embed partnerships such as the Itawa Springs Protection Project into national upcoming structures such as water user associations which support the decentralisation of water resources management.


Country Set-up

In Zambia, IWaSP is anchored in the bilateral Reform of the Water Sector (RWS) Programme, a joint programme of the German and Zambian governments, implemented by GIZ.

IWaSP partners in this country include the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company, the Water Resources Management Authority, the Lusaka and Ndola city councils, the Zambian Environmental Management Agency, Zambian Breweries and the Zambian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

IWaSP is an international water security programme which combines global best practices in water stewardship with local know-how. Currently active in seven countries, the six-year programme (2013-2018) facilitates partnerships between the public sector, the private sector and civil society to address shared water risks, while improving stakeholders’ use and management of water and building their capacity to develop their own solutions. GIZ manages IWaSP on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the UK Department for International Development (DfID).


Contact Information

Robin Farrington
Country Coordinator