A Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) project to tap water from Lake Malawi in Salima and supply to the capital city is being backed by movers and shakers of the economy sector including opposition spokesperson on finance due to the current water crisis being experienced in Lilongwe.
The proposed project is to pump water out of Lake Malawi from Salima then supply it to Lilongwe, which is 125 kilometres away, and also distribute it to surrounding districts.
Malawi Economic Justice Network director Dalitso Kubalasa said there is need to have the project to help ease water problems in Lilongwe but pointed out that pre-feasibility and full feasibility studies should be conducted, as well as environmental and social impact studies, followed by detailed designs that are then made public.
The president of the Malawi Institution of Engineers, David Mzandu, said the project is technically possible, but said “such a huge project requires a feasibility study.”
The project was awarded to Khato Holdings Limited, a South African-based firm owned by a Malawian Ashani Simbi Phiri through a restricted tender which, according to the Public Procurement Act, is within the law.
Malawi government will guarantee a $500 million loan which the contractor is expected to identify a financier or financiers.
University of Malawi economist at Chancellor College in Zomba, Ben Kalua said quotes reported by a local daily newspaper Malawi “need to be proactive like the Romans because water is life. For industries to thrive they need water and reliable water for that matter.”
The project entails a steel pipeline that stretches over 130 km and will have three big pump stations to ensure that there are no bottlenecks in the flow of water to the capital. It also features a water treatment plant and three reservoirs in Lilongwe.
Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson on finance Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi backs the project.
“The beneficiaries of the project will be Malawians and this is not the first time for government to be a guarantor of such a project. I have in mind the Northern Region Water Board which borrowed money from the African Development Bank for a big water project,” he said.
Khato Civils has invested in two cutting-edge Tesmec Trenchers able to dig 2km per day of trenches for laying pipes. Each of the Tesmec Trenchers is worth about $2-million (R26-million) each.
“We are excited about the project and will deliver the best value to the people of Malawi. We continue to make sure as a company that we invest in the best equipment, latest technology and innovation to deliver the best quality projects in an environmentally sustainable manner,” said Simbi.
Simbi explained that the project would improve the lives of millions of people, not only in Malawi but the whole region. He said such a massive infrastructural project would open up investment opportunities.
“This ground-breaking project will be catalyst for growth as it not only will improve drinking water sanitation, hygiene and waste water management. It will see the growth of industries and the manufacturing sector leading in the growth of new towns.
“This will also drive growth in foreign direct investment since many companies consider water resources when making decisions about where to invest or locate their facilities,” Simbi said.
The multi-billion kwacha investments is expected to create over 10 000 jobs.
Most of the employment opportunities will be in auxiliary services to complement the core personnel of Khato Civils and South Zambezi.
There will be a lot of quarrying, and the project will need heavy machine operators, drivers, engineers, welders and those who will be involved in rebar and mortar construction.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :