President Peter Mutharika yesterday wondered why the country continues to face water supply challenges when it is endowed with plenty of the resource.
The President spoke at the Bingu International Conference Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe during the commemoration of this year’s World Water Day under the localised theme of Water for People; Water by People.
Describing most of the challenges Malawi faces as “man-made”, Mutharika said: “We need to reflect on how we use the blessings that we have. How do we explain that a third of the country is covered with water, and yet our people are thirsty!”
He also questioned the kind of people Malawi has as it seemingly does not have any well-running sector.
Said the President: “We can’t even produce enough hydro-electricity. What is wrong with us that we should rely on rain in order for us to grow food? Look even at the rate we are cutting the forests? And we get surprised when floods and dry spells characterise [agricultural] seasons here?”
Mutharika’s remarks come against a background of criticism and observations by some stakeholders who have questioned why Malawi relies on rain-fed agriculture when it is blessed with a fresh water lake and several perennial rivers.
The President also hailed some efforts by stakeholders in the water sector in striving to provide potable water to consumers. He said the challenges call for concerted efforts.
He mentioned individual quests by Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and Blantyre Water Board (BWB) as examples of public enterprises trying their level best to supply water against the dilapidating water resource.
Earlier, the President commissioned a new treatment plant at LWB premises that will now enable the board to produce about 125 million litres of water per day; five million litres less the current demand of 130 million litres.