Members of Parliament (MPs) on Tuesday afternoon unanimously authorised government to borrow about K35 billion ($58,657,700) from Opec Fund for International Development and African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance improvement of Mzimba Integrated Urban Water and Sanitation projects.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said the two loans would help expand the water catchment area for Mzimba from the current 30 percent to about 65 percent.
He said: “Mzimba water supply system was established in 1958. In 1995, an intake and transmission pipelines were constructed. The current intake was constructed in 2012. However, neither rehabilitation nor upgrading works were carried out on the water treatment plant and distribution pipe network.
“The capacity of the water treatment plant, at 1 500 cubic metres per day is far less than the current demand of 2 600 cubic metres per day. While this is the case, the raw water source has a capacity of 5 700 cubic metres per day, enough for the demand up to the year 2025.”
According to Gondwe, the water demand is much higher than the capacity of the water supply system, leading to rationing of water supply to the existing customers.
He added that new consumers cannot be connected because of lack of pipelines to the newly developed areas and inadequacy of available potable water.
Added Gondwe: “The number of people who will be served by the rehabilitated and upgraded Mzimba water supply system in the design year  will be 65 000. The system will also serve about 3 000 students who will be studying various courses at Mombera University which the Government of Malawi is constructing [in Mzimba].” n