2022 District Development Plans that Balaka District Council is formulating with support from the Local Government Accountability Project (LGAP) has indicated that the district faces critical shortage of potable drinking water.

Presenting a draft of the District Development Plan to stakeholders in the district on Thursday, acting Director of Planning and Development (DPD), Violet Chirwa said limited access to potable water was the major challenge the district is facing at the moment.

She said: “The highest population to water point ratio currently is at 1: 2, 331, this is the situation because there is inadequate improved water points as well as low water table that the district experiences.”

“As of now, the population of people with water coverage is at 23 percent and amongst this population those that have access to clean and safe water is at 52 percent,” Chirwa added.

The DPD explained that the council has prioritized the water sector during the formulation of the District Development Plans (DDP) for the next five years to change the situation.

“We have planned to increase multi-purpose dams and ground water resources, which would help to change the current situation,” she observed.

Currently, the district heavily relies on Mpira Dam which is in Ntcheu as the main source of potable water delivered in pipes.

In an interview after the presentation, District Commissioner for Balaka Rodrick Mateauma said most partners operating in the district in the water sector did not cover the whole district, instead most just covered one section of the district.

He pointed out that people in the district would benefit from the newly crafted DDP since the developmental document would guide different partners to spread developmental projects evenly in the district.

“The book will clearly state where to do what, this will help to have what is required at a particular place unlike in the past where development partners could just come and dictate to the council on what they want to do and where depending on donors preference,” the DC said.

Project Manager for United Purpose, MacPherson Kapalamula observed that the formulation of the DDP would guide various players to carry out activities in an orderly manner and avoid duplication of efforts.

The District Development Plan is a five year guiding document that every district in the country is supposed to produce in accordance with the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III).