Government is to drill 88 boreholes in Rumphi this year through the sustainable rural water and sanitation infrastructure for improved health and livelihood project.
Making the announcement in the district last week during an interface meeting between district officials and communities organised by National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) and Water Aid, district water officer Jacob Mkandawire said the drilling process will start soon as all the paper work had already been finalised.
Communities through citizen forums from the district had initially expressed concerns over lack of water points in their areas citing dilapidated gravity water schemes, unrepaired boreholes and the declining water table.
“Let me say here that the water projects we have been asking for will be implemented this time around. So far, we will sink 88 boreholes in selected places across the district.
“In addition to that, we will rehabilitate five gravity water schemes at Ntchenachena, Ng’onga, Mlowe, Hewe and Mhuju, which will give us an additional 642 taps. So we expect the water problems to be significantly reduced,” said Mkandawire.
He said his office will ensure that the communities are involved at various stages of the implementation process to ensure grassroots participation.
The project will also be implemented in Nkhotakota, Mangochi, Ntcheu and Phalombe districts.
Nice, with funding from Water Aid, has been implementing a water and sanitation governance project in Rumphi from 2011 to March 2016 through which communities were empowered to demand services from district officials.
The interface meeting was part of the project assessment activities.
Water Aid programmes officer responsible for policy and governance Takondwa Kaliwo said her office was satisfied with the successes the project has registered.
Regional civic education officer for the North, Vincent Kalawa also hailed the project saying it has demonstrated that there can be meaningful and practical democracy only when the communities are empowered.
He said Nice will ensure that the citizen action groups – the pioneers of the project – are sustained even in the absence of Water Aid.