World Bank Injects Over K200 Million into Chididi Water Supply Scheme in Nsanje

The solar powered water scheme by the World Bank The solar powered water scheme by the World Bank - pic by Hezekiah Namonde

The World Bank has pumped over K200 million into a solar powered a water supply scheme at Chididi in the area of Senior Chief Malemia in Nsanje in a drive to improve access to safe drinking water.

However, communities in the area are asking for a backup saying the system fails on a cloudy day.

Symon Ching'oma, Chairperson for Chididi Water Users (WUA) Board, raised the concern on Thursday, when Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, John Bande, toured the project.

"The project is going on well but we need a backup because as you have seen we are using solar so when it's cloudy the system shuts off and fails to pump water to the tank so that's where the problem lies," lamented Ching'oma.

His sentiments were echoed by Senior Chief Malemia, who dared technocrats to tap knowledge from locals saying their input can as well make a difference.

"We are impressed and very grateful because this project will help this community in many ways. We cannot be doing business as usual. Business should become unusual. We thank our technicians and the ministry, this is not something we could consider little.

"There are challenges as alluded to by the communities and technicians. We need to have a backup so when there is no sunshine the backup will help, it’s something that could be done.

He added, "may I appeal to technocrats to touch base with the locals as well. Don't ignore them, let them have a say. This is critical in perfecting things"

Bande assured the communities that the concern will be dealt with.

"Chididi is a very remote area of Nsanje and I am really impressed that our technocrats through the World Bank thought of bringing this water supply in Nsanje and let alone Chididi.

"The Chididi people have their own standalone water supply system which is underground and I am really impressed that it's working.

"There are some challenges and what is more important is that what they started is going on well and there will be some improvement,” explained Bande.

He added that "the Ministry of Water and Sanitation has already presented the issue to the World Bank and we have been assured that they are going to provide more funds so that we are connected to the national grid to ensure that there is sustainable supply of electricity to enable us pump water to our tanks in the hill. So that is being taken care of and the people of Chididi should not worry," said Bande.

The system which has 80 solar panels with two high yielding boreholes, was designed to pump 10 litres of water per second targeting about 20,000 households.

Works on the project started in June 2020 and were supposed to be finalized by December 2020 but the contract was extended to May 2021.

Apparently, the project delayed due to Covid-19 which affected procurement of materials by contractor, MALRBRO Civil Engineering.

The project has been implemented in response to 2015 drought.

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