07 May 2019

The government of Malawi is set to commission the
US 23$m Mulanje Water project which will be used to supply water to citizens of
commercial of Blantrye, Southern Malawi. Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation
and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha said he has ordered the project
officials to fast track it.

The Minister said the project was supposed to be
finished by June but gave orders that it should be through before the May 21
elections mainly to enable President Mutharika to officially open it and also
due to increase rate of water problems Blantyre residents face.

Construction works on the project being undertaken
by SMS Infrastructure and Plem Construction include construction of an intake dam at
Chambe basin, laying down water pipes and excavation of 40 to 50% of the
distance in various places plus construction of a treatment plant. It is being
funded by the Indian Government.

The project which will tap water from Likhubula
will be supplying it to residents of Blantyre and the surrounding areas who
needs at least least 12 000 cubic litres of water per day. ” The Mulanje
project will give the commercial city 20 000 cubic litres of water per day,”
said Mwanamvekha.

Additionally Blantyre Water Board also engaged with
communities and schools in Mulanje Mountain by planting trees to protect the
water catchment area around the project and also donated water pipes, note
books and desks to six winning forest co-management clubs and schools.

The project initially faced  strong resistance from concerned residents of Likhubula in Mulanje who feared that the project will completely drain water from their source Likhubula River, which in recent years has not been perennial as it was before, but the conflict was solved through a consultation process that saw residents agreeing to support the project.

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