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The Programme Director;

Honourable Portfolio Committee Members from Both Houses of Parliament;

UNDP Country Representative;

The Regional Administrator - Hhohho Region;

Principal Secretaries here present;

Captains of Industry;

Representatives from Academic Institutions;

Members of the National Water Authority;

Members of the River Basin Authorities;

WASH stakeholders;

Government Officials;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen;


Good morning to you all.

It gives me great pleasure to stand before you today to officiate in this important function for the launch of our National Water Policy. This is a historic event as the country is for the first time having a policy in the water sector. It has been observed that since the times of the old Water Act of 1967 the country has always had an Act without the supporting policy document.  This also holds true for Water Act of 2003 which was operating without a policy to provide statement on good practice in the development and management of our water resources.

The Ministry greatly appreciates the efforts of the National Water Authority for spearheading the process of developing the Water Policy which provides the much needed guidance in the management and development of the country’s water resources. I have been advised that the process for the development of this document started some years back in as early as the year 2000. During this period water stakeholders and government officials were taken through a training process on how to develop a water policy. This process was facilitated by an external expert who capacitated the local team to undertake this process.

After inception the Policy development process had to be suspended as the SADC Region had to develop the Regional Water Policy to provide guidance on how Member States were to develop their respective Water Policies. The local policy development process was then resuscitated in 2006 after the passing of the Regional Water Policy and Strategy on which Members States now align their Policies and Strategies.

I take this opportunity to thank the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for providing the financial support to the tune of US$45,000 to support the policy development initiative. Through this support we were able to engage a professional team to finalize the development of the Policy document and also conducted national consultations to get inputs from the different stakeholders. This support is great appreciated and the Ministry remains grateful for your assistance.

The development of this document entailed the consultation of a wide spectrum of stakeholders which included amongst others Chiefs from all the four Regions of the Country, Parliament, Industry, Water Users and different other Ministries to ensure that the document does not conflict with other existing policies. The Policy received Cabinet approval in August 2018 and is being launched today to alert the nation of its existence and to initiate follow-up processes for its implementation.

It is worth noting that the Policy is coming up with new approaches in the development and management of our water resources. For an example, under Section 4.6.1 the Policy indicates that there shall be a liberation of service providers for potable water supply and sanitation services. It indicates that this will be regulated by the National Water Authority and will allow the private sector to be an active player in the provision of these services and this will improve the level of potable water supply service to our rural areas.  

Another new development brought about by this document is a water use charging mechanism. Under Section 4.7 the Policy provides for water pricing structures for various uses and levels, including issues of cross-subsidization in various forms to ensure sustainability of water assurance and supply services.

May I take this opportunity to urge you all to familiarize yourselves with this document as it has very innovative strategies on how the different policy pronouncements will be implemented and it also assigns roles to different entities. This document has been uploaded on the government website for easy access and is also available at the offices of the Department of Water Affairs.

From now on the Ministry will initiate processes for the review of the prevailing water legislation to incorporate the new principles and strategies coming with the Policy. This process is planned to commerce in the new year and will see the Ministry reviewing the Water Act of 2003 with other prevailing water legislation to be in sync with the new policy. Areas of special attention will be on issues surrounding the provision of potable water to our rural areas to ensure that the country’s vision of attaining 100% access to potable water supply is achieved by 2022. This is also in line with meeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) by the year, 2030.  Another area of special attention will be on the establishment of Basin Institutions for the management of our national water resources.

The Ministry looks forward to the active role of the National Water Authority to drive the process through.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, in conclusion may I take this opportunity to thank you all for having devoted your precious time to be part of this important event.

With these few remarks, it is now my pleasure to declare the National Water Policy officially launched.



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