The $23.5 million (about K17.6 billion) Water Supply System Project that seeks to increase water supply to Blantyre City will be ready for commissioning in two weeks, Blantyre Water Board (BWB) chief executive officer Engineer Dan Chaweza has said.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a World Water Day pre-event in Blantyre yesterday, he said the water project has reached 95 percent completion.
“We are making progress. Currently, we are at about 95 percent completion so in the next two weeks or so it will be done and we will be commissioning it,” said Chaweza.
He said the Likhubula water system will add 20 000 cubic metres of water to Blantyre City to the existing 86 000 cubic metres per day.
Chaweza said: “Through our estimates, we know that the demand for Blantyre is about 120 000 cubic metres per day. We will be having a shortfall of 14 000 cubic metres.”
The CEO also disclosed that the board intends to construct a new intake along Shire River that will increase water supply.
“If you recall, last week Friday we got approval from Parliament to borrow about $150 million [about K112 billion] from India [for this project]. That is another project that is coming to add on to the current production,” he said.
Malawi is facing a race against time to meet the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal number 6 (SDG 6) that calls for clean water and sanitation for all people by 2030.
Statistics show that 13 percent of Malawians have no access to safe water. But Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Principal Secretary Gray Nyandule Phiri said the ministry has put in place measures to achieve the goal.
“We are investing in a number of developmental projects to ensure that every Malawian has access to good water,” he said.
Phiri cited the recently-inaugurated Mzimba Water Supply project and the construction of Bwanje Dam in Ntcheu.
He said the ministry also plans to rehabilitate Mpira Dam in Ntcheu which dried up last year.
“We have programmes in the pipeline to rehabilitate Mpira Dam. We want to remove the silt and increase its capacity. We hope that by 2030, we should not be talking of water problems anymore,” he said.