President Peter Mutharika has ordered Blantyre Water Board (BWB) to immediately fix the never-ending problem of water shortage that has been affecting Blantyre for many years.
Mutharika made the remarks when he toured BWB headquarters Tuesday to appreciate the progress the Board is making towards a more constant water supply.
“I came here to familiarise myself with the efforts BWB is undertaking to address the problem of water shortage. BWB has been making headlines in the papers but I am pleased with the efforts they are taking to start tapping water from Mulanje Mountain. I grew up around Mulanje, and Likhubula is one of the perennial rivers that can ably help in improving the water situation,” said Mutharika.
He added: “My government will set up a new water authority and negotiate another line of credit, all in a quest to improve the supply of potable water in the country.”
Mutharika then commended Blantyre residents for their resilience in the wake of the water challenges that has besieged the city for some time now.
In his remarks, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza, took time to highlight to the President some of the challenges BWB is facing, which include archaic equipment, encroachment of its catchment area, and high electricity costs the Board pays to Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
“Here, you can see that the only way to commercially sustain the operations of BWB is for the Board to develop its own power generation plant,” said Chiyembekeza.
BWB board member, Maureen Kamwendo, said the water woes will completely end once the Likhubula River Water Supply System rolls out.
“Likhubula is a significant water source for the Southern Region Water Board for water supply to some parts of Mulanje and Luchenza. This project will be implemented in the next 18 months and we expect to connect 140, 000 people with the 200 cubic metres of water we will tap from Mulanje Mountain,” she said. .
In the long term, Kamwendo told Mutharika that BWB is considering developing another source on Shire River to produce at least 230,000 cubic metres of treated water to meet the projected demand.
She further said both detailed designs and Independent Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (Esia) are underway with financing from the International Development Association of the World Bank.
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