The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Malawi says it has set aside about $25.8 million for the implementation of the Environment and Natural Resource Management (ENRM) project aimed at reducing the scope and intensity of soil erosion and resultant sedimentation in the Shire River basin.
Briefing journalists during a media tour at Nkula in Blantyre last week, MCA Malawi environment and natural resources manager Dwight Kambuku said the ENRM project addresses aquatic weed infestation, severe erosion that affect the performance of Escom’s hydropower generation facilities located on Shire River.
He said the project, which is being funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), will focus on mechanically removing weed and sediment through the use of weed harvesters and dredgers.
“The second intervention takes a longer term perspective by addressing the causes of land use change that are producing erosion and, thirdly, we will support greater involvement of women and vulnerable groups in improved land use management activities in the Shire River basin,” said Kambuku.
He said MCC will fund the purchase of mechanical weed harvesting equipment and silt dredging equipment, adding that the equipment will be located at Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) hydropower dams and related facilities on the Shire River to directly address the results of the environmental degradation plaguing power generation.
Kambuku said unless soil loss in the Shire River basin is addressed, weeds and sediments will continue to be a constant operational cost and threat to hydroelectric power generation.
Escom environmental specialist Lawrence Chilimampunga described the presence of weed and siltation as a big problem at both Nkula A and B which he said continue to interfere with energy production.