Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) says deforestation on Zomba Mountain has caused serious damage to the catchment area around Mulunguzi Dam.
SRWB public relations officer MacDonald Phiri said this on Saturday, when the board conducted a media tour on Zomba Plateau to give journalists a picture of the extent of the damage that deforestation has brought to Mulunguzi River.
He said the water level in Mulunguzi Dam has drastically gone down, a development which may affect water supply to Zomba City in the coming months.
Said Phiri: “Severe deforestation due to the high demand for firewood is a major problem on the plateau. Unless drastic measures are taken to conserve the vegetative cover at the catchment area of the [Mulunguzi] river, we should expect rationing of water to residents in the city in less than a year’s time.”
But at a recent stakeholders’ meeting, Zomba Mountain Plantation manager Leonard Kamangadazi highlighted several other challenges affecting conservation.
He said: “The mountain is at risk due to illegal sawing, log trafficking, charcoal burning, cutting down of indigenous forests, wild fires and encroachment by farmers, among others.”
Mulunguzi Dam was opened in 2001 with funds from the First National Water Development Project (NWPD