In a bold move to preserve the purity of the nation’s water resources, the National Water Resources Authority (NWRA) has issued a stern warning that all non-compliant boreholes in the country’s cities and towns will be shut down within 90 days.
The announcement came during a press briefing held on Friday in Lilongwe, where NWRA Chief Executive Officer Dwight Kambuku revealed shocking findings on the quality of water in selected boreholes from lodges across the country.
According to Kambuku, an assessment that NWRA conducted in collaboration with Blantyre Water Board revealed that 75% of the borehole samples from lodges failed to meet acceptable quality standards.
“We had concerns raised by some of the clients who have been visiting these lodges as per the quality of water. 75% of the boreholes which were sampled were deemed to be below the acceptable limit of the quality,” said Kambuku.
Kambuku added that the findings were shared with the respective lodges and Blantyre Water Board for action and that similar assessments were conducted in lakeshore districts, Lilongwe City and Mzuzu City.
“We also went to the Lakeshore districts. We also did similar assessments in Lilongwe and Mzuzu. The idea was to alert the populace that the water that we are drinking from the boreholes may not be as pure as it might look,” added Kambuku.
Addressing concerns about corruption in license approvals, Kambuku said NWRA has taken decisive steps to maintain ethical practices by among others training officers involved in the approval process to understand the risks associated with engaging in corrupt practices.
He also added that the authority has introduced key performance indicators to foster a robust performance management system such as collaborating with district councils and intensifying awareness campaigns to ensure the process remains free from any unethical practices.
The NWRA’s mandate to issue permits for boreholes is enshrined in the Water Resources Act of 2013, but they have decided to collaborate with water boards when drilling applications pertain to cities, given the gazetted areas under the boards’ jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, NWRA has set up committees in coordination with respective water boards which will meticulously review applications for borehole drilling in cities and towns, ensuring that compliance and safety take precedence.
According to UNICEF, 67% of Malawi’s population has access to safe and potable water, while the 33% turn out to unsafe water sources, risking their lives for different diseases such as cholera.