NRWB in $27 million Karonga Water Supply System expansion project

Written by  Peter Makawa

Karonga District with an estimated urban population of 63 000, is facing challenges to supply enough water as the current water system is under pressure to satisfy the ever growing demand.

Kalenge water supply system commissioned by President Mutharika last year in Chitipa. Kalenge water supply system commissioned by President Mutharika last year in Chitipa.

To meet the high water demand, limited water treatment capacity and inadequate distribution capacity in the district, the board has received pledges totaling to 26.7 million dollars from Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa - BADEA and The OPEC Fund for International Development OFID to expand the water system.

“This follows the board successful implementation of Kalenge Water Supply system in Chitipa which BADEA also supported and they were pleased and encouraged us to submit a proposal for another water supply project,” said Northern Region Water Board NRWB Director of Finance Francis Munthali said.

Introducing the project to Karonga District Council, Munthali said the project among others, will construct a network of a 332 Kilometer pipeline and storage tanks.

“Our intention is to connect an area called Pusi to Songwe boarder and Karonga town to Chilumba area,” he said.

Welcoming the project, Karonga District Council Chairperson said it will address most challenges they face due to insufficient water supply in the district.

He said, “I welcome this project and thank government for its commitment to providing clean water to people of Karonga. This district is prone to cholera outbreaks and every year, we suffer largely because people drink unsafe water so this project will address some of these challenges,” he said.

Meanwhile the Northern Region Water Board has called on people to honor their water bills which are in excess of million in the areas that they serve.

Said Munthali: “As of now, Karonga owns the board K347 million, Chilumba has a debt of K182 million, Chitipa is yet to settle an K82 million debt while Songwe area is yet to foot a bill of 6 million kwacha.”

Non revenue water is another challenge for the board as if fails to account for a lot of water through illegal connections or vandalism.

Meanwhile, the NRWB says is optimistic that parliament will pass a loan authorization bill for the project in the current budget review meeting underway in Lilongwe.

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