Massive siltation of Lilongwe River, the main water source for Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has led to a dive percent reduction of water volume treated per day from 35 cubic metres to 20 cubic metres.
The drop, according to LWB chief executive officer Alfonso Chikuni, will result in some areas in the capital city having no water over Christmas and New Year celebrations.
He said: “We can’t pump enough water into our treatment plant, in fact, about 50% of what we are pumping in is silt. Separating the silt from water is taking up a lot of time, hence the reduction in the volume treated.”
He said the situation has been aggravated by the deforestation of Dzalanyama Forest reserve which has led to soil erosion in surrounding areas.
He said another blow hit the board on Tuesday night when a fault which he described as serious developed at the main power plant putting water treatment completely at a halt for over 18 hours.
Chikuni also said another danger looms as electricity poles leading to the main power plant are on the verge of collapsing as the soil supporting them continues accumulating water.
“While we are waiting for the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) to rectify the problem, we have noted that two poles leading to the affected power plant have tilted and may collapse anytime soon,” he said.
Chairperson of the Network of Lilongwe Water Users Associations Bentry Nkhata said the news is sad, especially considering that people need more water during festive season being the time of cerebrations.
Chikuni said the board has already organised to supply water to people through water bowsers but hinted that the exercise will only commence when a significant volume of water has been treated from the time Escom finalises maintenance of the affected plant.
The Board has advised people to store enough water and use it sparingly. n