Zambian firm eyes Zim, Sadc markets

HARARE – Zambian firm, United Chemolide,  which specialises in the installation of booster pumps, design of water management systems as well as water rehabilitation and reticulation schemes, is gearing itself for the Zimbabwean and Sadc markets.

In an interview with the businessdaily early this week, the company’s managing director Ashrok Patel said his organisation has already mobilised funding at a cost of 3,0 percent per annum through its links in Canada, Italy and the United States.

“Councils and water management authorities will be offered three-year grace periods while loan repayment periods will stretch up to 25 years.

“United Chemolide is proposing to write off outstanding debts relating to water treatment and pumping of potential partners to help kick-start new fundingand partnerships. In exchange, we expect host governments to sign on to this by guaranteeing the repayment of our proposed funding,” said Patel.

The cash-strapped Harare City Council, which reportedly spends $30 million per month on water treatment and cleaning chemicals, is one of United Chemolide’s potential clients in Zimbabwe.

The local authority, whose main water treatment plant at Morton Jaffray uses about seven different chemicals for treating and cleaning water, has been facing challenges in supplying adequate water to its residents owing to aging water pumping and cleaning equipment.

“We have a water cleaning solution, the P2W technology that will cost the City of Harare about $40 million once-off. This detoxication technology which requires zero chemicals, will save the council millions of dollars in the long-term,” added Patel.

P2W patented technology is based on electro-coagulation and is capable of removing toxic heavy metal ions by induced separation. This technology uses significantly less chemical addition than conventional chemical precipitation methods, resulting in less sludge production.

“Water is one of the most dynamic elements of nature. Whenever there is a need to harness this vibrant energy, United Chemolide, backed by WILO, KSB, Siemens, Crompton and Shakti solar pumps and other renowned pumping technology companies, will provide the ultimate modern water cleaning and pumping technologies,” explained Patel.

The water technology may come in handy for Harare as it does not require multiple chemicals and will prove to be cost-effective as the city council will save money.

United Chemolide also plans to bring its water cleaning solutions to Sadc countries with access to ocean water, which unfortunately, is neither drinkable nor suitable for agricultural activities.

The company thus plans to reach long-term agreements with countries like Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa and Mozambique to install desalination plants.

Desalination is the process of removing salt from primarily ocean water.

Desalination plants supplied by United Chemolide, come with pumping capacities ranging from 5 000 to 10 000 kilometres, will cost between $300-$400 million.

The firm also plans to build 200 water reservoirs for Zimbabwe to support smallholder farmers and out-grower schemes.

Built to a capacity of 360 cubic metres, such reservoirs are expected to boost dry season planting as well as crop rotation by smallholder farmers, which in turn enhances food security as well as alleviating poverty.

The company has been operational since 1986, and has been involved in water reticulation in Zambia over the years, having piloted a similar initiative in Mkushi, in Zambia’s Central Province.

Its objectives dovetail with Sadc’s Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap for 2015-2063.

In this long-term plan, water sanitation development as well as management are identified as critical ingredients of industrial development.

Water demand is expected to rise exponentially in response to industrial expansion and related increase in income levels, a problem that will be exacerbated — on the supply side by climate change.

To solve this problem, Sadc countries must equip arable land with irrigation equipment.

According to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the sub-Sahara Africa has one of the lowest portions of arable equipped with irrigation machinery, just 3,2 percent.

To reverse this, small dams will have to be build supported by appropriate irrigation equipment.