The World Bank Group on Wednesday approved a $100 million (about K73.4 billion) funding to improve water services and manage sanitation in Lilongwe City.
The six-year Lilongwe Water and Sanitation Project (LWSP) comprises a K55 billion ($75 million) credit and a K18.3 billion ($25 million) grant from the International Development Association (IDA).
Two thirds of the project funds will go towards the rehabilitation and expansion of the city’s water distribution network. This will include construction of a 27 kilometre (km) transmission mains and associated pumping stations and storage reservoirs.
It will also upgrade 142 km of existing distribution network and expand it by about 186 km to areas of the city not currently served by piped water.
World Bank country manager Greg Toulmin said the project will triple the city’s water supply by 2035 in line with the city requirements.
“Lilongwe City faces considerable water security challenges that must be addressed urgently to serve the growing population and enhance economic activities in the capital,” he said.
In his remarks, Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) chief executive officer (CEO) Alfonso Chikuni said the project will improve the systems hydraulic capacity and reduce losses by 10 percentage points.
“We are determined to provide our customers with more efficient services first by fixing the distribution network through this project,” he said.
Lilongwe City Council (LCC) acting CEO Charles Makanga, whose council will be implementing the project jointly with LWB, said the project is a good starting point as there have not been any investments in the city’s ailing sanitation system for a long time.
While improving the distribution network, the water board is simultaneously increasing the capacity of Kamuzu Dam I to assure supply in view of increasing demand.
The project will also rehabilitate and expand the sewerage network (107 km) and the Kauma Sewage Treatment Plant, with 5 000 new sewer connections installed to benefit about 90 000 people.
There will be further support to construct 8 000 improved sanitation facilities benefitting about 160 000 people from poor and vulnerable households. Sanitation improvements will also cover some markets and schools.
With support from the International Finance Corporation–the private sector arm of the World Bank Group –LWB will also explore options for public-private partnership for water production expansion investments.