27 March 2017

Malawi: Feasibility Study Not Done for Lake Malawi Water Project - Lilongwe Water Board Confirms

There has been no feasibility study yet for the construction of water pipeline from Salima to Lilongwe to tap water from Lake Malawi, Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) who owns the contract has confirmed.

LWB chief executive officer (CEO) Alfonso Chikuni said they agreed with the contractor Khato Holdings that the feasibility study should be undertaken after the contractof the high-profile $500 million (K400 billion) project has already been entered into.

"No environmental impact assessment (EIA) wad done because that would mean a lot of time could be spent on the study," said Chikuni.

He said they need the project "very badly" hence focusing on the contract.

Chikuni said they will hire experts to conduct a first feasibility study.

He, nonetheless, said a preliminary assessment found that there will be no harm in tapping water from Lake Malawi from Salima to Lilongwe.

The development comes after the Malawi Law Society (MLS) has asked the Department of Environmental Affairs to furnish it with a report of the EIA on the project in line with the laws.

Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) is implementing the project to pump water from Lake Malawi to Lilongwe City through a pipe line stretching over 130 kilometres from the lakeshore district of Salima.

Accoridng to Law Society president Khumbo Soko: "If the provisions of the Act have so far not been complied with, it will be illegal to proceed to the implementation stage of this Project."

The society has further asked that the requirement of an EIA are satisfied before the project's implementation begins.

MLS further says under Section 25 (3) of the Act, the report is supposed to be open

The project is under fire from several fronts and questions have been raised at how Khato Civils Ltd and Zambezi Pty Ltd was contracted to carry it out.

The government guaranteed a $500 million loan to LWB for the project.

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