Residents of Liwonde in Machinga have bemoaned the erratic and low water supply in the township.
In a petition delivered to the Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) offices at Liwonde on Monday, concerned citizens also complained about poor water quality.
In an interview, the concerned citizens’ chairperson Chipiliro Phiri asked the board to rectify the problem immediately.
The petitioners also asked the board to inform them whenever there is a challenge in the water supply system.
Phiri, who is also Machinga Civil Society Organisations Network chairperson, said some residents go without water for weeks despite that Liwonde is close to Shire River, the country’s biggest river and the township’s water source.
SRWB chairperson Ibrahim Matola thanked the residents for seeking dialogue with the board rather than rushing to hold demonstrations.
“However, let us conserve the environment because some of these challenges are due to environmental degradation,” he said.
On his part, SRWB acting chief executive officer Duncan Chambamba pledged to improve the situation in the township.
He said: “The water supply challenges people face are due to a small water pump installed in 2005, which can only pump 2 500 cubic litres of water per day.
“However, Liwonde’s current population needs over 6 000 cubic litres per day.”
Chambamba said the board plans to install an upgraded water system which will not only serve Liwonde, but also Balaka.
“The board is just waiting for Parliament to allow us to borrow money from the European Investment Bank for the upgrading of the water supply system,” he said.
Meanwhile, a 10-member committee comprising the board’s employees and residents has been established to work on how to improve the water situation in the shortest term.