Poor sanitation and intermittent water supply in Lilongwe and surrounding areas will be history within five years as the World Bank subsidiary International Development Association (IDA) will pump in $100 million (about K75 billion) to improve water and sanitation services.
On December 20 last year, the World Bank Board approved the Lilongwe Water and Sanitation Project (LWSP) amounting to$102 million, out of which $2 million will be a Malawi Government contribution.
Speaking at a workshop on Friday to orient journalists on the project, Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) chief executive officer Alfonso Chikuni said the project will be implemented in four phases within five years.
These will include water distribution network rehabilitation and expansion, priority sanitation improvement and institutional capacity strengthening.
LWB will be the implementing entity while Lilongwe City Council (LCC) will be the beneficiary of the project.
The loan authorisation bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament to authorise the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development to proceed with the signing of the financing agreement.
Upon completion, the project is expected to improve the systems hydraulic capacity and reduce losses by 10 percent to help 500 000 residents to have access to quality water and sanitary services.
Chikuni said the project was one of the medium-term investment plans under the LWP to resolve some of the sanitary and water hiccups in the city and its surrounding areas.
“It consists of a series of investment projects designed to address the immediate and medium-term water and sanitation needs, and support a long-term solution to Lilongwe City’s growing demand for improved water services and safely managed sanitation services,” he said.
Chikuni added the project will lead to improvement of the quality of services to the residents of Lilongwe City who currently receive intermittent services, without necessarily increasing the volume of water produced.
The project will also see the expansion of the sewerage network within 107km in the city and the rehabilitation and upgrading of Kauma Sewage Treatment Plant.
Implementing partners will also construct improved sanitation facilities in 10 markets and 10 schools and install 5 000 new sewer connections for 90 000 households; upgrade and expand water distribution networks, construct eight pump stations and 60 communal water points as well as install 14 000 household connections.
LCC director of engineering services Cleaverson Nyando said existing sewers and sewage treatment plants are dilapidated and that there is minimal regulation of the private sector on faecal sludge emptying and collection from onsite.
Last year, Area 18 residents in the city drank water contaminated with human excreta because of broken sewer pipes. n