Machinga — Machinga District Council on Saturday approved a four-year District Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP) aimed at improving water situation and sanitation in the district.
The approval of multi-sectoral approach comes amid continued water challenges and poor sanitation despite government and non government organisation's interventions to improve the situation in the district.
Machinga District Water Development Officer Stevie Meja said during the extraordinary council meeting that currently only 48 percent of people in Machinga have access to safe drinking water within the 0.5 kilometer radius.
He cited vandalism and lower literacy levels as some of the major factors contributing to the low rate.
Meja further said they expected to reach 80 percent by the year 2022 once they implement the interventions in the four-year DSIP.
"The new DSIP will see the district reaching schools with 100 percent safe water supply as the situation at the moment is at 98 percent.
"Out of 24 markets in the district, only 13 have access to safe water and the DSIP will respond to all remaining markets.
"The DSIP will also respond to water challenges in our health facilities especially at Kawinga and Mlomba Health Centres as well as construction of toilets in various social set ups," Meja said.
Paramount Chief Kawinga urged all sectors involved in the approved DSIP to make sure that the four-year strategy is implemented as planned.
"It is sad that the district still experiences water challenges yet Machinga is blessed with mountains full of water. Let us all work together to improve the water situation in the district," Kawinga said.
The DSIP which starts in 2018 up to 2022 will rely on government and other stakeholders. It is expected to cost more than K14 billion.
At least 411,000 people are expected to benefit from the approved DSIP and have access to portable water, improved sanitation and hygiene.