LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Parliament Thursday approved that Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) can borrow US$100 million [about K75 billion] from the World Bank for implementation of a water and sanitation project in the capital.
The loan is meant to facilitate activities that are aimed at strengthening the capacity of both LWB and Lilongwe City Council (LCC) in the provision of sanitation services to the city.
All Members of Parliament (MPs) who stood to contribute to the bill supported the move and asked the government to consider other areas, more especially rural areas where water boards do not operate in.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, said the government would continue to bring to Parliament bills of similar nature to promote socio-economic development.
But when raping up the debate on the International Development Association (Lilongwe Water and Sanitation Project) Loan (Authorisation) Bill, Gondwe said the country’s quest for boreholes is misplaced.
“Next time we come with the budget, please let us not emphasise the need for boreholes because these come in and after six months they dry up. A number of things happen to them.
“Probably that is not the way to go. The way to go would be piped water and we will make it possible that most of these should come,” Gondwe said.
The Minister was responding to some MPs who said there was need for the government to also consider borrowing funds for the provision of water in rural areas by drilling boreholes.
The funding rationale; US$75 Million (IDA Credit), US$25 Million (IDA Grant) and US$2 Million (Borrower) the project will focus on four critical components including Water Distribution Network Rehabilitation, Expansion and NRW Reduction, priority Sanitation Improvements, technical Assistance and institutional capacity strengthening.
LWB Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Alfonso Chikuni told the media orientation that the project will lead to improvement of quality of services to the residents of Lilongwe City that currently receive intermittent services, without necessarily increasing the volume of water produced.
Engineer Chikuni emphasized the need for the public to understand the initiative which it will community based during implementation.
The LWB chief therefore assured city dwellers of full investments in priority network rehabilitation aimed at eliminating bottlenecks and increase hydraulic capacity of the existing network (142 Km; “this will pressure management to reduce water losses”
“The project will lead to improvement of quality of services to the residents of Lilongwe City that currently receive intermittent services, without necessarily increasing the volume of water produced.
However, investments in water supply requires corresponding investment in sanitation to ensure non-contamination of treated water.
“The project’s priority investments including: rehabilitation and expansion of the sewerage network (107km); rehabilitation and upgrading of the existing Kauma sewage treatment plant; construction of improved sanitation facilities in 10 markets and 10 schools; support to construction of 8,000 improved sanitation facilities targeting the poor and vulnerable households and sanitation marketing campaigns,” assures Chikuni.