Malawi energy regulator taking siltation head on

Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) joined people in Machinga in tree planting to minimise sedimentation in the Shire River basin which in turn affects hydropower generation downstream.

Kamoto: Mera boss
Kamoto: Mera boss

The energy regulatory authority has provided 7000 tree seedlings to people of Group Village Head Napwanga, Traditional Authority Sitola to plant along Likwenu River.

Likwenu River flows from Zomba Malosa Forest Reserve and dumps a lot of sediment into the Shire River.

MERA board chair Dingiswayo Jere said MERA is planting trees in Shire River Basin to rehabilitate environmentally degraded sub catchment areas which negatively affect hydro electricity generation.

Jere said this after planting a Khaya anthotheca (Mbawa) tree along the Likwenu River where he was accompanied by MERA Chef Executive Officer, Ralph Kamoto and Machinga District Council officials.

Apart from planting trees few kilometers from the Shire River at Liwonde, MERA has already planted trees in Shire River basin districts of Mwanza, Neno and Zomba.

Currently Machinga is facing rapid deforestation through illegal charcoal and timber production such that 2,000 to 3,000 trees are cut down daily, according to District Forest Officer, Paul Muhosha.

Jere: MERA chair
Jere: MERA chair

The Forestry Office in Machinga have impounded tons of charcoal, firewood and timber but communities at Matandika and Ndaje villages (along the main road) are continuing trading in such forest products.

The district forestry officer therefore commended MERA for providing seedlings to communities as Machinga intends to plant 2 million seedlings this forest season.

Muhosha however called on the people of Napwanga Village to protect the newly planted seedlings from the current drought and wild fire to realize higher survival rate.

Apart from MERA, Shire River Basin Management Programme is also supporting tree planting and other environmental protection and conservation projects in the Shire River basin districts that stretch from Mangochi all the way to Nsanje.

The Shire River, streams and the land they all drain from, combine to form the Shire River Basin whose catchment measures 3.1 million hectares, about third of Malawi, according to Shire River Basin Management Programme magazine called Our Shire.

Over 5.5 million Malawians live, work and depend on the Shire River Basin which provide water for many purposes including generating 98 per cent of Malawi’s electricity through hydro power.

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