Government has challenged district councils in Malawi to ensure that water catchment areas are properly managed.
Minister of Water Development and Irrigation Ritchie Muheya said this in Zomba on Wednesday during the launch of the 2012-2020 Zomba District Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) Investment Strategic Plan at Jali Epicentre.
The minister said many areas in Malawi are experiencing water shortages due to environmental degradation.
â€œCouncils should make deliberate by-laws which should ensure that water catchment areas are sustainably managed. When you listen to radios, you hear incidents of health centres closing down, for instance maternity units, because of lack of water. Such could not be the case if water catchment areas were well managed.
â€œThe Local Government Act of 1998 mandates districts to be the operational units for developing and implementing local plans in relation to the prioritised district level potentials, needs or concerns,â€ he said.
Muheya said councils are expected to promote infrastructural and economic development through formulation, approval and execution of district development plans.
Zomba district commissioner Harry Phiri said the District Strategic Investment Plan (Dsip) is a home-grown policy meant to guide all players in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.
â€œThe aim is to raise consciousness through meeting the peopleâ€™s present and future water supply, sanitation and hygiene needs. We further hope the strategy will be of significant service to all as we endeavour to minimise the social costs associated with unplanned growth,â€ he said.
The investment plan is being supported by WaterAid.