March 15, 2015
Concerned with how weeds have blocked water pumps in Liwonde, Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water development Allan Chiyembekeza says there is need for improved budget allocation towards the department of water during the 2015/2016 national budget.
The increased funding, according to the minister is justifiable in the sense that authorities and government partners would be able to deal with weeds at Liwonde Water Supply Plant intake, which also affect power generation at Nkula and Kapichira Hydro Power plants.
Chiyembekeza said this during a familiarisation tour to Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) offices, intakes at Mulunguzi Dam and Liwonde Water Supply plant.
“I have seen for myself and the situation is terrible because water supply in the region is being compromised. People cannot access water due to the problem. As government, we are seriously looking at this problem of weeds and silt because our equipment is damaged,” he said.
Chiyembekeza said, while weeds have damaged equipment at Liwonde and other places down the Shire River, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment too, is affected because the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) also faces similar challenge.
“These weeds in the end contribute to blackouts not only water shortages. It is a serious challenge that I have seen and calls for teamwork between the two ministries (ministries of Agriculture, Water and that of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment),” he said.
Chiyembekeza hinted that since his ministry has three big departments and even more, it would be his wish to see to it that more funds are channelled to the ministry to contain challenges on the ground.
“If you put the entire three departments, you obviously talk about a huge budget which we have to ask for during the pre-budget consultations for easy implementation of the various programmes we have,” he said, adding that other water boards would also benefit.
According to him, the introduction of the Shire River Basin by government and other water- related projects by local organisations is a move towards the right direction.