Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza on Wednesday commissioned Likoma and Chizumulu water schemes, connecting 7 300 individuals to potable water.
The two islands have a combined population of slightly over 10 000, meaning that following the commissioning of the two schemes, the islands have a water coverage of about 85 percent which is above the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) requirement.
Speaking when he addressed a meeting at Likoma after commissioning the two schemes, Chiyembekeza said despite the district being surrounded by water, inhabitants on the islands have over the past years struggled to access clean water, hence government’s move to establish the two water schemes.
“Being surrounded by a body of water is one thing and having clean and safe water is another,” said the minister, who was accompanied by senior government and Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) officials.
Chiyembekeza said it was pleasing to note that Likoma District Council is promoting health and hygiene best practices through water and sanitation programmes.
In 2013, Likoma District was awarded a certificate as a highest open defecation free (ODF) coverage in Malawi, with 83 percent of households in the district having toilets and where possible hand washing facilities.
Speaking separately, Likoma district commissioner Charles Mwawembe said the council has now empowered the two water users associations from Likoma and Chizumulu to oversee the operations of the schemes.
The two schemes were constructed with financial and technical support from the NRWB.