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Download Press Release on Water Supply Situation in CRWB Water Areas

Press Release

Water Supply Situation in CRWB Water Areas

1.0 Purpose of the Press Release

Central Region Water Board would like to appraise its water consumers in all its water supply areas on the current water supply situation and the projected situation for the rest of the dry months in the current calendar year.

2.0 Facts About Central Region Water Board

Central Region Water Board has potable piped water supply systems in the following towns and market centres: Kasungu Municipality, Kochilira-Kamwendo, Mchinji Boma, Madisi, Mponela, Ntchisi Boma, Dwangwa, Nkhotakota Boma, Dowa Boma, Salima Boma, Salima Lakeshore (Senga Bay and MAFCO Areas), Lifuwu, Chipoka, Linthipe 1, Dedza Boma, Dedza Secondary School, Bembeke, Ntcheu Boma, Bunda and Mitundu. The water supply systems in these schemes abstract raw water from both surface sources, through gravity or mechanical water pumping systems, as well as groundwater sources, through deep boreholes equipped with motorized submersible pumps.

3.0 Current Water Supply Situation in the Schemes

The general trend of water supply in most of the schemes is that consumers are sometimes experiencing supply interruptions due to mainly three reasons, namely:

  1. i. Dwindling raw water sources due to the fact that the region received less than normal rains in the 2014/15 wet season and, as such, the raw water sources did not recharge adequately. This has seen high dwindling rate of both the surface as well as underground source yields. This trend is likely to get worse as the hot season intensifies between now and the onset of the 2015/16 rainy season;
  2. ii. Intermittent ESCOM power supply is impinging on the water pumping plans for CRWB. Due to the topography of the region, most of CRWB’s water systems rely on ESCOM power supply to pump water which means that once ESCOM power supply is interrupted, water pumping stops, hence water supply interruption is experienced when water storage tanks run out. The situation is expected to continue as long as CRWB continues to experience power supply interruptions at its water water pumping stations; and
  3. iii. During these dry months, CRWB faces fierce competition for the water resource from irrigation farmers in schemes like Ntcheu, Ntchisi, Bembeke, etc. In these schemes, farmers go to the extent of completely blocking flow of water in rivers/streams from where CRWB abstracts water for purposes of diverting the whole river course towards their gardens. Or, if their gardens lie downstream of CRWB’s intake point, the farmers block CRWB’s intake pipes using plastic carrier bags in order for the water to overflow the intake weir for the farmers to benefit downstream.

4.0 Remedial Measures Being Undertaken

4.1 Water Rationing

In order to ensure that every customer gets water at some point every day, water is being rationed in the critically affected schemes. This has been communicated to the residents of the affected towns and market centres through the District/Town Councils and local leadership via Community Liaison Committees which have been formed at Ntcheu Boma, Dedza Boma, Dwangwa, Mchinji Boma and Ntchisi Boma. More are going to be formed in other troubled schemes so that the water supply situation is co-monitored and co-managed by the Board and the consumers.

4.2 Efforts to Share Water Resource Equitably

Discussions are also on-going with the National Water Resource Authority and District Councils to see if bye-laws could be drawn to regulate abstraction of water from river courses where there is competition for the water resource.

4.3 Development of New Water Sources and Other Improvement Endeavours

Efforts are also being exerted to develop more water sources in the schemes. So far the following have been/are being done at the following schemes:

4.3.1 Mchinji Boma

  1. Two more surface raw water intakes have been constructed on Nachimbwi and Ludzi Rivers on the slopes of Mchinji hill;
  2. A borehole is being drilled to supplement the surface water sources; and
  3. Consultations are underway to tap water from a perennial river from where Mchinji Mission abstracts water some eleven Km away from Mchinji Boma along the Mchinji-Mkanda road.

4.3.2 Dwangwa

  1. Three more boreholes have been drilled, pump tested and designs of transmission lines and associated infrastructure are being prepared;
  2. A modular water treatment plant is being procured; and
  3. As a long-term solution, a consultancy is being procured to come up with a water supply master design for the scheme. CRWB is calling for Expressions of Interest (EoI) from eligible consultants through the local print media.

4.3.3 Ntcheu Boma

  1. Two more boreholes have been drilled, pump tested and drawing of materials requirements for their equipping and commissioning is underway;
  2. Discussions with the communities in the catchment of Mariko and Mpamadzi Rivers are underway to find the best arrangement for equitable sharing of the dwindling resource between CRWB and the farmers.

4.3.4 Dedza Boma

  1. Two boreholes are being equipped and will be commissioned soon;
  2. Another borehole will be drilled and equipped in the next few days; and
  3. Another water intake will be constructed across Namanolo stream on the slopes of Dedza Mountain.

4.3.5 Salima Town

  1. An additional borehole will be drilled once land issues are sorted out with the Ministry of Transport and Public Works; and
  2. Four existing boreholes will be blow-cleaned shortly in order to restore their design yields.

4.3.6 Ntchisi Boma

  1. An additional borehole has been drilled and is being equipped; and
  2. The intake weir across Kaombe River, where CRWB abstracts its surface water, will be raised in order to trap more water.

4.3.7 Bunda

  • A water supply improvement project is currently work-in-progress. Its scope includes drilling and equipping of three boreholes to augment supply from the Malingunde waterworks and construction of additional water storage tank to increase water holding capacity.

4.3.8 Mitundu

  • An additional borehole has been drilled and pump tested ready for equipping.

5.0 Other Reformatory Interventions to Improve Performance of CRWB

On top of the above developments and in an attempt to improve the water supply situations in the various schemes, the public may also wish to know that the Public Reforms Commission has, amongst others, approved that CRWB embarks on the following reformative projects in order for it to improve its performance:

  • Pilot water pumping using solar energy. This will be piloted in Dedza and Madisi Schemes in the current financial year. The specifications for the technology have been drawn and the procurement process is about to commence. This is being done in an attempt to lessen dependency on ESCOM power supply for water pumping;
  • Pilot pre-paid metering of water in order to enhance customer satisfaction; and
  • Reduce non-revenue water in order to increase water that is consumed by customers.

6.0 Statement on Commitment to Continuous Improvement

As discussed above, Central Region Water Board is fully aware of the problematic water supply areas and it is doing all it can to improve the situation. . The Board, therefore, would like to re-assure its water consumers of its commitment to continuously improving the service delivery for the good of the consumers and the nation at large.

7.0 Call for Community Participation to Conserve Water

CRWB would like to urge the consumers to participate in conserving the inadequate water being supplied in the troubled schemes by following good water use practices like, amongst others, the following:

  • Closing all taps when water supply is interrupted to avoid wasting water when supply is restored;
  • Repairing all leaking plumbing fittings;;
  • Using buckets to wash motor vehicles rather than hose pipes;
  • Washing dishes and kitchen utensils in basins rather than over running taps;
  • Recycle grey water e.g. water used for rinsing washed clothes can be used for flushing toilets.

Water is Life, therefore, Let Us Join Hands in Conserving It!