Lilongwe and Blantyre Water Boards are facing continuous challenges in meeting the water demands by consumers in their respective catchment areas.
The two water boards produce a total of 185, 000 cubic centimetres of water per day against a combined demand of 210, 000 cubic centimetres.
For Lilongwe city, the normal demand is around 110, 000 cubic centimetres per day while Kamuzu dam 1 and 2 is currently producing around 85, 000 cubic centimetres in a day, with the current reservoirs not big enough to last over one year, a situation worsened by the current drought.
In Blantyre, the combined pumping capacity of Walkers Ferry and Mudi Plant is 100, 000 cubic metres per day against a normal estimated demand of 98, 000 cubic centimetres per day and a peak demand of 100, 000 cubic metres in a day, which further worsens the situation.
This was said by Dr George Chaponda, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Wednesday when updating members of parliament on the current water situation and irrigation development in Malawi.
However, According to him, several initiatives are being implemented in order to meet the demand.
“For example, with the LWB; there has been intensified water rationing in supply zones to ensure that the available water will take the city residents up to December, 2016 before the next rainy season and also sensitize the consumers to use water sparingly or economize on water-per-capita usage during lean periods.
“In medium term, the LWB is implementing the Lilongwe Water Programme, which involves tapping water from Lake Malawi and Salima district,” Chaponda said.
On the other hand, he said BWB has taken several measures as part of ensuring that the residents of Blantyre city experience minimal water disruptions.
One of the measures he said was procurement of heavy duty generators for Blantyre stations. Also, conducting meter validation exercises to address the disparity between production and sales. As a medium term measure, he said BWB has plans to tap water from Likhubula River in Mulanje district.
Chaponda attributed some of the challenges to frequent power cuts the country is facing.
For example, he said the Central Region Water Board has potable piped water supply systems in towns and municipalities. These are Kasungu municipality, Mchinji Boma, Mponela, Dedza secondary school, Bunda and Mitundu amongst others.
The water supply systems in these schemes abstract raw water from both surface sources, through gravity or mechanical water pumping systems. Also, from ground water sources, through boreholes equipped with motorized submerged pumps.
“All these schemes to a certain degree are facing challenges to provide water hence customers are experiencing water interruptions. CRWB is implementing a number of measures like rationing, but also pilot water pumping using solar energy in Dedza and Madisi schemes to lessen dependency on ESCOM power for water pumping.” he said.
In the Northern Region, he said the NRWB schemes catchment areas received adequate rains and are performing much better.
He said only Chitipa district is experiencing critical water disruptions due to power outages.
The Minister said water supply priority is being given to the district hospital and other public institutions like secondary schools and the prison.