International transportation shut downs due to Covid-19 are hampering Lilongwe Water Board’s (LWB) plans to cut piped water shortages in and around the capital city, the utility firm said yesterday.
LWB chief executive officer Godfrey Itaye was speaking when he briefed Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo who toured the reservoir expansion of the K13 billion Kamuzu Dam Project to appreciate the board’s efforts to address water challenges in the city.
Itaye said the board is keen to implement the Kamuzu Dam Project, but its project manager Mota Engil is heavily affected by Covid-19 transportation restrictions as materials for the project cannot be easily procured and delivered from South Africa.
He said: “We have been affected by Covid. We were supposed to import materials for the construction of this dam, so those have had a net effect in terms of the project completion deadline.”
Itaye added that the water board is doing all it can to have the project completed by November next year, saying they are also exploring other projects such as the Salima-Lilongwe Water Project to meet the growing demand in Lilongwe by 2025.
On his part, Mota Engil project manager Zedi Nyirenda also lamented the lockdown, saying works are slowing down because materials are not easily accessible in South Africa.
He said some of the equipment purchased four months ago is not yet in and this sometimes forces the contractor to source equipment from other countries at a higher cost.
Nyirenda said the project completion time will also be affected by a change in the design of the dam, following the water board’s demand in 2019 to have the design changed while the project had already started.
In her speech, Tembo said once the expansion of the reservoir has been completed, the city will have improved water supply in two years’ time.
She said: “There are other projects that government will look into to ensure that people have access to clean potable water.”
LWB has been experiencing challenges in supplying water to residents following growing demand.
The current dam capacity is five million cubic metres and supplies to about 90 000 households and institutions.
Expansion of the dam will improve the capacity to 25 million cubic metres, which is expected to supply enough water to residents up to 2025.