Minister of Water and Sanitation, Abida Mia has lauded Blantyre Water Board (BWB) for its concerted efforts in ensuring that it was providing safe and potable water to its clientele.
Mia, who is also firebrand political powerhouse in the Shire River made the remarks said Thursday in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre when she joined BWB in a tree planting exercise at its Mudi catchment area as well as touring the site, which the board intends to set up water pumping intake infrastructure in the Shire River.
Mia said: “Allow me at this point to commend the efforts by management of BWB to ensuring the protection and re-afforestation of the Mudi catchment, which is the main source for Mudi Dam.
“I want to encourage Blantyre Water Board to maximize usage of the Mudi Dam to increase availability of water in the supply system.”
Mia, a firebrand politician and Chikwawa Mkombezi parliamentarian, applauded BWB for its plans to expand water supply as well as constructing solar power generation plant to run all its pumping stations to ensure affordable and uninterrupted water supply services.
The newly minted minister, who previously held a portifolio of Lands and Housing deputy minister, added that her ministry was fully determined to renew its efforts and commitment towards expanding and improving the potable water supply network throughout the country and make water available to all.
“Government will always be there to support innovations focused on improving water supply systems,” Mia said.
George Mnesa, Blantyre Water Board Board Chairperson said the board would like to expand the water supply by constructing a new water intake to be set up four kilometers from Walkers Ferry in the Shire River to meet the demands from its clientele in the city and the surrounding areas.
Mnesa said: “The Board will set up a solar power generation plant because we spend up to K1.2 billion every month to pay to Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) which is quite heavy for BWB. This is as a result of increases in tariffs.”
Mnesa explained that BWB is going to have their own solar plant, which will generate 30 megawatts.
“We use about 26 megawatts at the moment and our plan is to have 50 megawatts,” he said.
Nnesa added that, “The project will take 24 months to be completed. We could have started by now but the delay was as a result of Covid-19 issues but we are in the final stages. By May this year, we will be able to have identified a contractor.”
Nnesa said upon its completion, the new pumping intake will be able to generate 299,000 cubic meters of water from the current 101,000 cubic meters being pumped at Walkers Ferry.
“Once completed, Walkers Ferry will no longer be our water intake but all the other processes like treatment among others will remain,” Mnesa said.
According to Nnesa, the cost of the whole project is US$112 million (approximately K92.4 billion), a loan facility which the board has secured from Exim Bank of India.