Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) is exploring the potential of establishing a bottling plant in Mzuzu, sidestepping Karonga’s ultramodern plant whose offerings are almost up to standard.
The Garnet Halliday plant, which Paladin Africa donated to Karonga where the firm’s Kayelekera Uranium is located, uses filter membrane to produce water that is free from germs and impurities as well as ready for bottling.
The $10 million (about K6 billion) water supply system, opened in 2010, ostensibly makes NRWB the best equipped of the country’s water boards.
However, the board’s director of technical services Mwiza Mtawali told the press during a tour of the plant on the northern shoreline of Lake Malawi that they are looking elsewhere for the business to cut transport costs and ensure that the system keeps serving Karonga citizens as Paladin envisaged.
“The board thought about it, but Paladin donated this equipment to the people of Karonga. The district can only use a quarter of the bottled water produced here, leaving us with the huge cost of transporting the remainder to the rest of the country,” Mtawa said.
“The decried transportation bill has pushed the board to focus on installing a new bottling plant in the region’s centrally situated business city of Mzuzu, he said.
Last month, NRWB called for consultants to conduct market research and draw a business plan of the envisioned plant.
With a vision to provide potable water for all Northern Region dwellers by 2019, NRWB generates K3 billion ($5 016 722) a year from about 40 000 water connections which serve nearly 280 000 people across the region.