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Lake Malawi levels hit record high

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Water levels in Lake Malawi have gone up, according to the National Water Resources Authority (NWRA), an upward trend that has been recorded since 2017.

The authority has cited increased rainfall as one of the factors contributing to the trend.

According to the authority, the hydrological year under study was from November 1 2021 to October 31 this year.

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“In the 2021-22 hydrological year, the lake reached a highest level of 475.31 metres above sea level (masl). This was [a] 0.1 percent increase from the previous year. In the previous year 2020/21, the highest level reached was 474.84 masl,” NWRA says.

The authority notes that there has been a steady increase in the lake levels since 2017.

“This increase in lake levels is likely to continue in the new year as the current levels are already above those of 2021at the same time,” it says.

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The authority adds that NWRA’s prudence in the regulation of lake levels and Shire River flows at Kamuzu Barrage in Liwonde, Machinga District, has contributed to the rise.

“NWRA is using the Kamuzu Barrage Operational Model for Hydrological and Water Resources Forecasting to determine optimal Shire River flow releases that satisfy generation of hydropower in the middle Shire and conserve adequate water in Lake Malawi.

“As a result of this, the authority has been able to adequately make water resources available for Electricity Generation Company for hydropower production as well as to other key stakeholders,” the statement reads.

Environmental management advocate Alufeyo Mwalukomo said rising water levels should work to the advantage of the country.

“For instance, with the abundance of water in the country, we should not have been complaining of dry taps and erratic electricity generation and supply,” he said.

The Water Resources Act (2013) gives NWRA the mandate to regulate, manage, conserve, use, develop and control water resources in Malawi.

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