The Government of Malawi has, for so many years, ignored Luwazi and Luzi dams in Mzimba North to deteriorate, literally halting water supply and crop irrigation among communities there.
Perhaps, for the umpteenth time, Mzimba North Member of Parliament (MP) Agnes Lonje (People’s Party) has asked Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha to intervene on the matter.
Between 2013 and 2014, the water department undertook an assessment of some Gravity Fed Water Schemes including Luwazi and Luzi dams, a move which raised hope of a new beginning for Nyalonje and her constituents.
The assessment revealed that it would have then costed about 500 million and 100 million kwacha to rehabilitate Luwazi and Luzi dams, respectively.
According to Nyalonje, nothing has been done since then.
“I have been talking about this from the moment I entered Parliament in 2014. I even had a standing order 69 question on the issue when Dr George Chaponda was Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development. My suspicion is that the government has no plan to rehabilitate these dams which is very unfortunate,” Nyalonje told .
The Mzimba North Parliamentarian said as Malawi continues to experience environmental degradation which leads to lowering of ground water levels, it is important that the country look to other sources of water that are more sustainable.
Apparently, ground water is taken up for use mostly through the drilling of boreholes.
And most rural communities in Malawi rely upon boreholes to access water.
“Luwazi and Luzi Gravity Fed Water Schemes are much more sustainable than any boreholes we can sink in Mzimba North. It is very expensive to drill boreholes in my area because one needs to dig too deep to find water. Even when the water is found, it dries up so quickly, making the boreholes unusable”.
Added Lonje: “The benefits of resuscitating these dams are so many. Luwazi dam used to supply a lot of communities with piped water. I want access to water for consumption and crop irrigation among my people to improve once again. Government must listen to this critical call for the need of water in my constituency”.
She also observed that if Luwazi and Luzi dams are rehabilitated, communities would be compelled to conserve the environment around the two dams to maintain them as water sources and catchment areas.
Mwanamvekha acknowledged that Luwazi and Luzi dams have indeed been idle for a long time, disclosing that government is rolling out a project to address the situation.
“My water and irrigation department is seeking to counter increasing droughts and dry spells through resuscitation of dams such as these across the country to supply water for consumption and crop irrigation. Assessment is currently underway and we should be starting the project anytime this year,” the Minister said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :