Mia commends BWB for efforts in improving water supply

Minister of Water and Sanitation, Abida Mia has commended Blantyre Water Board (BWB) for its efforts in ensuring that it was providing safe and potable water to its consumers.

She said this on Thursday in Blantyre when she joined BWB in a tree planting exercise at its Mudi catchment area as well as touring the site where the board intends to set up water pumping intake infrastructure in the Shire River.

“Allow me at this point to commend the efforts by the management of BWB to ensure the protection and reafforestation of the Mudi catchment which is the main source for Mudi Dam.

“I want to encourage Blantyre Water Board to maximize usage of the Mudi Dam to increase the availability of water in the supply system,” Mia said.

Mia planting a tree at Mudi catchment area. Pic Arkangel Tembo (Mana)

She applauded BWB for its plans to expand water supply as well as construct a solar power generation plant to run all its pumping stations to ensure affordable and uninterrupted water supply services.

The Minister added that the Ministry was determined to renew its efforts and commitment towards expanding and improving the potable water supply network throughout the country and make water available to all.

“Government will always be there to support innovations focused on improving water supply systems,” Mia assured.

Board Chairperson for BWB, George Nnesa said the Board would like to expand the water supply by constructing a new water intake to be set up four kilometers from Walkers Ferry in the Shire River to meet the demand in the city and surrounding areas.

“The Board will set up a solar power generation plant because we spend up to K1.2 billion every month to pay to Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) which is quite heavy for BWB. This is as a result of increases in tariffs,” he said.

“We are going to have our solar plant which will generate 30 megawatts. We use about 26 megawatts at the moment and our plan is to have 50 megawatts.

Mia visits the area where Blantyre Water Board wants to construct a new water intake in Shire River. Pic Arkangel Tembo (Mana)

Nnesa added that “The project will take 24 months to be completed. We could have started by now but the delay was as a result of Covid-19 issues but we are in the final stages. By May this year, we will be able to have identified a contractor.”

Nnesa said upon its completion, the new pumping intake will be able to generate 299,000 cubic meters of water from the current 101,000 cubic meters being pumped at Walkers Ferry.

“Once completed, Walkers Ferry will no longer be our water intake but all the other processes like treatment among others will remain,” he said.

According to Nnesa, the cost of the whole project is US$112 million (approximately K92.4 billion), a loan facility that the board has secured from Exim Bank of India.