Traditional leaders in Mangochi District have asked the government to ensure a speedy rollout of the Nkhudzi Water Project.
In separate interviews, Senior Chief Nankumba and Group Village Head Mwanyama, said communities in the area were desperate for clean water.
Nankumba said the project would help the people in his area as it would provide a clean source of water.
“Currently, communities have to draw water from the lake and the water has to go through various processes before it is consumed.
“We want the project to start without any delays so that the people of my area can also access clean and potable water, just like people in many other areas of the country,” Nankumba said.
On his part, Mwanyama said women in his area are tired of drawing water from unprotected sources.
“We are desperate for clean water. In fact, we needed this project Thursday,” Mwanyama said.
Early this year, the Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) embarked on the $14.4 million (about K11.5 billion) project which seeks to extend supply of water for domestic, tourism and industrial use to some parts of Mangochi.
The project is jointly funded by Kuwait Fund International and the Malawi Government and is targeting rural people who are living between Montfort Missionaries [Bishop’s House] and Mtakataka Turn-off on the road to Monkey-Bay.
Recently, the project was halted over environmental and cultural heritage concerns on Nkhudzi Hill where an elevated water tank has to be constructed.
The hill is also believed to be of archeological significance as it is believed that it had some caves which used to host Malawi’s earliest inhabitants, the Akafula.
But a water engineering expert said that as an alternative, the elevated water tank, could still be constructed on a hill which is less than a kilometer away from Nkhudzi Hill, which has similar characteristics of Nkhudzi Hill in elevation and accessibility, thereby avoiding the environmental and archeological concerns.
“The contractor may resort to blasting methods to remove some rock boulders to create access road and construct the tank and pipe lines on top of Nkhudzi hill.
“This may result in some environmental hazards in the area hence it is better not to install the tank in the present location,” he said.
Forestry and Natural Resources Minister Nancy Tembo on Friday said the Tonse Administration was committed to ensuring that it provides clean and safe water to the people of Mangochi.
Upon completion, SRWB is expected to extend water supply to 93 000 customers from the present 50,000.