Construction works for the much anticipated US$26.7 million Karonga Water Supply Project are expected to start towards the end of 2020, Chief Executive Officer for the Northern Region Water Board, Eng. Titus Mtegha has disclosed.

Speaking in an interview, Eng. Mtegha explained that currently the Consultant for the project ECG of Egypt is finalizing designs for the project.

“It’s our plan that by October this year, we should identify a contractor who will do the project. Our hope is that before year end, construction works should start,” he said.

Mtegha explained that the project will put in place a new system that will address current water supply challenges and effectively serve Karonga and surrounding areas up to year 2035.

“The capacity of the existing Karonga Water Supply System is far less than the current water demand. Consequently, people here at Karonga Town receive potable water for less than 16 hours per day. In addition, there is no water reticulation in the newly developed areas surrounding Karonga Town. As such, people staying in those areas use unsafe water,” he explained.

The project involves rehabilitating, upgrading and expanding the existing Karonga Water Supply System so that it provides reliable and sustainable potable water. Specifically, the project will upgrade the water treatment plant from the current production capacity of 12 million litres of water per day to 31 million litres of water per day.

The project will also upgrade a total of 28 kilometre transmission pipelines and further install a total of 285km long distribution pipelines and increase storage tanks capacity by 10 million litres.

According to Mtegha, the extent of the new water supply system whose design year is 2035 and will serve 184,000 people is that it will extend up to Pusi as you go towards Songwe, Nyungwe to the South and Mpata to the West.

“Once this project is complete, the whole district of Karonga will have a fair share of potable,” said.

Mtegha added that it is the hope of the Board that the project should be completed by end 2021 ahead of its 2022 completion date.

The Board has since held a number of consultative meetings with local officials, traditional leaders, other stakeholders and community members to prepare them for their respective roles in the project.

Council Chairperson for Karonga District Council Steve Simusokwe said people in Karonga are very with the project as it brings life to the district since water is life.

“We are very happy, even our Chiefs and our people are all happy because Water Board is moving and working together with all of us on this project. We are happy that water is being extended even to remote areas where people were drinking from unprotected sources and sometimes drinking water together with livestock. This project will change a lot of people’s lives and enhance development in the district,” he explained

The works, which will cost US$26.7 million, will be financed by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). The two institutions will inject $10 million and $15 million respectively. The rest of the funding is being provided by the Government of Malawi through the Northern Region Water Board.