Parliament meets Mangochi resort hotels and lodges to induce them to SRWB water supply

The Parliamentary Committee of Natural Resources & Climate Change has invited owners of major resort hotels and lodges in Mangochi to an interface to impress on them on the need to adhere to connect to water supply system of Southern Region Water Board (SRWB).

This follows some reluctance by some of the major resort hotels and lodges to connect to SRWB system from the massive investment SRBW, through the government, constructed at Nkhudzi Bay — which was officially opened by President Lazarus Chakwera last year.

The reluctance emanates from what the hotels and lodges are claiming that since time immemorial, they invested highly in their own water pumping and purification infrastructure — which they contend that it is tested regularly by Malawi Bureau Standards (MBS), Ministry of Health as well as the Ministry of Tourism.

Representing the hotels and lodges at a meeting that the Parliamentary Committee convened on Friday at Blue Fish Lodge in Mangochi to convince the owners and managers, Memory Kamthunzi — executive director of Malawi Tourism Council — maintained that they see no problem to connect to SRWB system, but their concern was on what they would do with the huge investment they already have.

She said several other hotels and lodges connected to SRWB system but others are clinging on to their own investment, justifying that their own systems were being monitored by tight authorities.

During the meeting, National Water Resources Authority and SRWB made elaborate presentations, quoting the Water Act of 2013, that according to the law, where a government-licenced water supplier is able to provide, then the lodges and hotels are supposed to adhere.

Led by chairperson, Werani Chilenga, the Parliamentary Committee attested that the law needs to be adhered to as long as SRWB is able to supply, which it is doing following the investment that the government injected for the Nkhudzi Bay project.

Chilenga also emphasised that it was in their interest to see to it that the law is followed because they are the ones who approved the Bill after the government brought it in Parliament — taking into consideration that the law guides for the provision of clean and very safe water.

The Committee then decided to invite the hotels and lodges to Parliament on July 10 or the period between July 8-12 of their schedule of meetings after the representatives of the hospitality facilities had asked for more time to consult first with owners of their establishments.

The Committee emphasised that the real owners should avail themselves at the meeting at Parliament and that any delegation should first be approved by the august House and such a representative should have a final say than to indicate that they need to consult owners again.

In an interview with the media, Kanthunzi said they will honour the invitation and hinted that they need to come to a win-win situation in as far as their own water purification infrastructure is concerned in which they highly made some investments.

On their part, SRWB chairperson, Brown Mpinganjira said they were satisfied with how the meeting progressed since the participants have understood what is required of them from a point of adhering to the law.

He emphasised that water treatment is very complex and not just to add some chlorine, since very little can be added or too much of it — with both being a danger to people’s health.

“Let me also say that Parliament, through this Committee, has interest in the Nkhudzi Bay project because they approved the loan government had sourced on our behalf for us to provide safe water to people of Mangochi including the hotels and lodges.

“The infrastructure that we have is very modern, not just in Malawi, but throughout the world. We supply best best water possible and we have the capacity to supply up to 20 million litres a day.

“Currently, the demand is low but we are thinking ahead to expand our capacity for future growth of the communities we are supplying that includes reaching out to parts of Liwonde and Balaka,” Mpinganjira said.

Chilenga wrapped it up that they would expect the real owners of the hotels and lodges to the meeting and not to deal with representatives as was in Friday’s meeting, where he had constantly enlightened the participants that the law cannot be circumvented.

At the official opening of Nkhudzi Bay water supply plant — that is to cater up to 92,000 Mangochi households, President Chakwera said the  project is a role model of money well spent, saying: “This facility isn’t just a building — it’s a testament to our shared vision for a better future and it’s a testament to our dedication to the well-being of our citizens. 

“It’s a testament to our determination to leave a lasting legacy for future generations. This facility is not a handout — it is a hand up and we must put it to good use in unleashing the economic potential of Mangochi District. 

He also urged SRWB to maintain the momentum and apply its formula for success to the critically important water projects that are in the pipeline — citing the stand-alone project at Cape Maclear in the same Mangochi District — one of the tourist hub of tourism along the shores of Lake Malawi and the planned Domasi multi-purpose dam.

Also in the pipeline is Thuchira water supply project targeted for Mulanje, Phalombe and Thyolo as well as other projects for supplying water to Balaka, Zalewa, Mwanza, Neno and Makanjira. 

“I want you to push for speedy progress on these projects even more than you have done here at Nkhudzi Bay, because water is such a top priority that affects the quality of life for everyone.

“In fact, as Government, we are already gearing up to reconfigure our focus areas for public spending to ensure that the limited resources we have are going towards priority areas that have the most economic and productive impact and not wasted on consumption,” he had said.

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