Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) has urged Parliament to help it access a loan of about K28 billion from the European Investment Bank in order to address water challenges in some parts of the Southern Region.
The board on Thursday evening engaged the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources, Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament and other members of Parliament to appreciate challenges that people in Balaka and Machinga, in particular Liwonde, are facing in accessing potable water and the need to improve the water system to meet the growing demand.
SRWB chairperson Ibrahim Matola pleaded with the MPs to support a bill in Parliament that seeks to borrow about K28 billion from EIB to upgrade the water system so that people in the two districts have access to reliable water supply but also for the board to supply to more people.
“SRWB is committed to supplying clean water to people in the Southern region and that is why the board has identified several projects. However these projects require the support of the government and that is why we want Parliament to help us in accessing funds,” said Matola.
SRWB acting chief executive officer Duncan Chambamba said the water problem in the two districts is getting out of hand due to population growth.
The board is meeting only half of the demand as the infrastructure in place was designed for a population that was recorded in 2015.
“People even planned demonstrations to protest water problems. We are unable to meet the demand and people go days without water,” said Chambamba.
He said there is a need to address the situation as soon as possible.
He added that the infrastructure that will be put in place will meet the current demand but also serve up to 2050.
Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change chairperson Welani Chilenga assured the SRWB of Parliament support saying MPs appreciate the water problems that people in the Southern region face and the need to ensure reliable supply.
He added that MPs have never shot down a bill on water supply as water is life. He said denying people water is denying them their right.
He urged SRWB to also reach rural areas with potable water saying people in rural areas are suffering.
“It is pleasing to see SRWB bringing a bill to Parliament. All along it has been Northern Region Waterboard, Blantyre Water Board and Lilongwe Water Board.
“Water is life. As MPs, we want people in our constituencies to have clean water so SRWB will give people in the southern region clean water,” said Chilenga.
Budget and Finance committee vice chairperson Julius Mwase also assured of the MPs support. He said water projects are a must for people to have access to clean water.
The project is expected to commence in March 2022 and will be completed in August 2023. Once done, SRWB will be able to supply water to 150 000 customers but also meet the demand of up to 2050.
Currently, the board is forced to ration water in order to serve the two districts