International Committee for the Development of People (CISP), an Italian non-State actor undertaking the rehabilitation of Chilingali Irrigation Scheme in Nkhotakota, has singled out water hyacinth (namasupuni) as an imminent threat to the scheme.
CISP team leader Alufeyo Mwalukomo, whose organisation is rehabilitating 150 hectares, made the observation yesterday at a stakeholders’ meeting in the district.
He said the scheme’s water source, Lake Chilingali, is covered with the invasive plant, affecting rehabilitation works at the scheme.
“The contractor doing civil works at the site has been removing the weed, but it is spreading too fast. The plant may have serious effects on aquatic life,” he said.
While admitting that rehabilitation works have missed the deadline with three months, Mwalukomo said the contractor has made significant progress, adding that the scheme will be opened to farmers before the end of the year.
In his remarks, district fisheries officer Symon Ngwira observed that the scheme will regain its glory if the lake’s buffer zone is conserved.
He urged communities around the scheme to plant more trees.
One of the residents of the area, Muhammad Umande, said deforestation around the catchment area is rife, resulting in sedimentation of the lake. The project is being funded by the Europe Union.