Members of Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament have expressed satisfaction with the Northern Region Water Board’s (NRWB) plans to expand and upgrade the water supply system in Karonga District.
The committee’s vice chairperson, John Chikalimba, expressed satisfaction on Sunday in Karonga after touring some of the sites where the project will be extended to.
Parliament is expected to authorise government to borrow US$10.8 million (about K15 billion) from Opec Fund for International Development (Ofid) and US$7.3 million (about K10 billion) from Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (Badea) for the project.
Chikalimba was optimistic that if NRWB’s project can be supported financially, many people will have access to piped water in northern region within a short period of time.
“Water is life. We should be moving with time. This is not the time that we should be banking our hopes on boreholes. Boreholes should just be used as substitute,” he said.
Chikalimba then urged other water supply bodies in the country to emulate the initiatives taken by NRWB, saying gone are the days when people used to walk long distances to fetch clean water.
NRWB Chief Executive Officer, Titus Mtegha, said the water board wants to expand and upgrade Karonga Water Supply System to meet the rising demand following the population boom.
“For many years, we have been supplying water mainly at Karonga Boma to about 20,000 people. With this project, we will be able to supply water to about 45,000 people including those in some parts of rural areas,” he said.
The project, which is expected to start in August, 2018 upon loan authorisation by parliament, is expected to run up to 2021.
NRWB wants to extend the current system southwards to Mlare Trading Centre and Pusi in the district’s northern part.
Project components include replacement of the existing pipeline with bigger ones and upgrading of water treatment plants.
Government through NRWB, is also expected to invest $1.7 million (about K1.2 billion) which brings the total budget of the project to $26.7 million (about K19 billion).