The population of Lilongwe City and surrounding areas is booming, which has put pressure on Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) in terms of supplying adequate water to its customers.
With the back-to-back drought that happened during the past two years, LWB’s two dams—Kamuzu Dam I and Kamuzu Dam II—did not fill up to the required capacity, a development that forced the board to ration water from May 2016 to date to ensure that the available water reached the next rainy season.
Faced with this challenge and not wanting to be caught off-guard in future, LWB identified Lake Malawi as a possible source of water.
In view of this, LWB through the Malawi Government, has engaged a joint venture of Khato Civils (Pty) Limited and South Zambezi (Pty) Limited—two of Africa’s construction, engineering and infrastructure development companies—to tap raw water from Lake Malawi, at a distance of 125 kilometres (km) to Lilongwe, and also construct water treatment plant and pipeline to supply 50 million litres of water per day.
LWB, managers of the project awarded the contract to Khato Civils and South Zambezi Joint Venture at a total contract price of K29.2 billion plus $396.9 million (about K291 billion), according to bid documents.
Experts and commentators view this multi-billion kwacha Lake Malawi Water Supply project—expected to employ about 4 000 Malawians and to be completed within two years—as a game changer as it will ensure LWB’s continuous supply of water to Lilongwe.
The water capacity design of LWB cannot cope with the ever increasing population; hence, this project comes in handy.
In the Southern Region, which is also facing water supply challenges, Blantyre Water Board (BWB), through a line of credit amounting to $23.5 million (about K17 billion) from the Exim Bank of India, plans to pump water from Likhubula River on Mulanje Mountain to Blantyre.
The water is also expected to benefit people from the source in Mulanje and the surrounding districts of Chiradzulu and Thyolo.
According to documents we have seen, the proposed water abstraction rate—the rate of moving water from the source—is 2 083 cubic metres or about two million litres per hour, which translates to 50 000 cubic metres or 50 million litres per day, with the proposed intake point being North West of the existing Central Region Water Board intake point.
There is also provision that the abstraction rate could be scaled up to 4 166 cubic metres per hour, translating to 100 000 cubic metres or 100 million litres per day.
The documents show that there will be an 800 millimeters (mm) suction pipe, which has the capacity of 2 083 cubic metres per hour.
“The suction pipe will be connected to two pumps through a pipe manifold. Suction pipe manifold to each pump will be 500 mm having capacity of 1 042 cubic metres per hour,” reads one of the documents.
In terms of treatment works, the documents show there will be pressure filters and an overall plant capacity of 2 083 cubic metres per hour with a static head of 36 metres. The 11 filters will each have a capacity of 200 cubic metres per hour.
The contractor will also build clear water tank and pumping station at Lifuwu in Salima with a capacity of 2 500 cubic metres and this means that treated water will then be conveyed through 700 mm ductile iron class from Lifuwu to Kanyenyeva (in the same district) clear water tank (2 500m3), a distance of 51.5 km.
The water will also be treated at Kanyenyeva and be moved to Dowa turnoff clear water tank (2 500m3), a distance of 21 km from where water will gravitate to the existing Kanengo tanks.
From Dowa turnoff to Kanengo gravity main, the documents show that the water will be conveyed by gravity, which is a distance of 37.5 km.
The project is a boon not only through the provision of water, but also job creation.
To award the contract to Khato Civils, the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) used restricted tendering procurement method under International Competitive Bidding. Six contractors namely Sinohydro Corporation Limited from China, PW Engineering Limited from United Kingdom, Khato Civils from South Africa, Mota-Engil from Portugual, China Railway Engineering No. 21 from China and CMC di Ravenna from Italy were shortlisted.
At the closing and opening of the tender on October 18 2016, three bidders—Sinohydro Corporation Limited, Khato Civils (Pty) Limited and South Zambezi (Pty) Limited joint venture and Mota-Engil—submitted their bids.
In the end, Khato Civils (Pty) Limited and South Zambezi (Pty) Limited joint venture qualified to the next stage of detailed evaluation as the bidder complied and satisfied all the procurements.
“Two bidder namely Sinohydro Corporation Limited and Mota-Engil failed to proceed for detailed evaluation after rigorous examination to ensure compliance to instruction to bidders.