Council nods to Blantyre Water Board  to tap water from Mulanje Mountain

Mulanje District Council on Monday gave a go ahead to the Blantyre Water Board (BWB) on its quest to construct new water supply system from Likhubula River in Mulanje to Blantyre supply area.

Mulanje stood their ground not to allow government to commence the project until trees are planted on the mountain.
Mulanje  people stood their ground not to allow government to commence the project until trees are planted on the mountain.

Speaking during an extraordinary meeting held on Monday at the Boma, Chairperson for the Council, Councilor Emanuel Bambala said as a council they are proud of the national project which he said is aimed at achieving some of government’s sustainable development goals.

But Bambala was quick to point out how BWB erred by rushing to start the project without following normal channels of project entry into the district.

“There couldn’t be such protests at Likhubula with the local communities at the start of this project but you chose to ignore channels of project entry hence there was fracas as the communities were not fully sensitized on what was to happen at the mountain,” Bambala told members at the meeting.

Then Bambala took advantage of the meeting to remind BWB of project entry channels where an issue has to go through District Executive Committee (DEC) then full council which approves then the issue goes to local community development structures of Area Development Committee (ADC) and Village Development Committee (VDC).

Board Chairperson of BWB, James Naphambo admitted the error his organization committed and asked Mulanje District Council to fully support the project in all stages of its implementation.

He added that BWB and other partners concerned with water supply at the mountain would work together to address some concerns raised by communities around the mountain such as the planting of trees and social and environmental impact assessment.

“Planting of trees would go along with the implementation of the 18 months project which is at the tune of USD23.5 million,” he told the meeting.

On other benefits to the local communities, Namphambo mentioned about job creation, compensation to those whose gardens might be affected with the pipes and also drilling and rehabilitation of some boreholes in the area.

In addition, he told the meeting that pumping of water from the mountain will not affect other water schemes like those of Southern Region Water Board (SRWB), Water Users Association (WUA) and the Estates as there would be consultation if water levels change.

BWB gets 95 percent of its water from Walkers Ferry in Neno and 5 percent from Mudi Dam in Blantyre. The completion of the Mulanje – Likhubula water project would ease water woes in Blantyre and other surrounding areas.

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