Malawi: Chilima Challenges Malawi Water Boards to Think Outside the Box

18 September 2020

Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima has said world-wide, poverty and starvation, or the pure lack of access to clean water do not reflect the mark of an absolute lack of resources as these can sometimes arise from a failure to distribute them equitably.

Chilima observes that in the case of Malawi, the lack of access to clean water by citizens could also be attributed to the public officers' failure to innovate and think outside the box to tackle the problem once and for all.

The Vice President made the remarks after his official engagement with the management of the Central Region Water Board (CRWB), Northern Region Water Board (NRWB), Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) National Water Resources Authority (NWRA) and the Green Belt Authority (GBA) on Thursday.

Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Public Sector Reforms, emphasized that water supply is a catalyst for socio-economic development of any nation, including Malawi.

"We cannot discuss jobs, health and education without water. Sadly, statistics show that one in every three Malawians do not have access to clean water. That's 5.8 million people," he said.

He said that is why in his engagements today with the management teams of CRWB, NRWB, LWB, NWRA and GBA, they took time isolating reforms that would help them to achieve the goal of access to potable water for all.

Chilima said for a start, they have emphasised that in 2020, they should aim higher as a country by thinking piped water so that we gradually graduate from boreholes.

"To achieve this, we will require efficiency and professionalism - but above all innovation - on how the water boards conduct their business. For example, reducing non-revenue water (NRW) will not only mean a healthy bottom-line but will also free up resources for expansion. NRWB plans to reduce further from 31 percent while CRWB is aiming at 28 percent from the current 32 percent within 12 months.

"Resources realised from installation of prepaid meters, K623 million for NRWB debt recovery and 52 percent outstanding bills by CRWB are highly commendable and so too are the projects and operational innovations by the LWB including the Salima Lilongwe Water Project now that government has provided direction as presented," he explained.

He said one of the game changing reforms they are encouraging the water boards to implement is the diversification of power sources through installation of solar power for water pumping, an initiative that will not only reduce operational costs but also free up the national grid.

The country's second-in command said this obtaining, they are also encouraging more and more expansion so that Malawians across the country can have access to clean water.

More From: Nyasa Times

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