The Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) says its heavy-duty borehole emergency response project to resolve the water crisis in Balaka is three months behind schedule.
Speaking on Friday when the parastatal’s board of directors visited project sites in Balaka, board chairperson Luther Mambala said they are in the process of procuring electrical fittings for power connection. He indicated the procurement would be finalised in January 2019.
Mambala said: “SRWB is sourcing $30 million [about K22 billion] to pump water from Shire River and supply to Balaka and Liwonde, but in the meantime we engaged Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (Fisd] to drill heavy-duty boreholes.
“However, due to design changes the project has delayed.”
But Balaka civil society organisations (CSOs) chairperson Ishmael Maulidi accused the board of no longer considering the project as an emergency response.
SRWB Heavy-duty Borehole Emergency project manager Engineer Jacquiline Dais said the main challenge was changing the design and sourcing 160mm pipes instead of the initially planned 90mm.
The water crisis in Balaka follows the drying up of Mpira Dam in Ntcheu which was the main water source for Ntcheu and Balaka.