A social commentator in the country has said it is a good development that government has embarked on tapping water from Lake Malawi in order to ease water problems in the city of Lilongwe and surrounding areas.
He has however condemned government for awarding a contract to Khato Civils for the project without an environmental impact assessment.
In an interview with Malawi24, the social commentator Stanley Onjezani Kenani said since Lilongwe city’s population is growing there is need to embark on such a project.
Kenani said the city of Lilongwe need a long lasting water solution as most of its dams had dried out last year and while they are full this year, relying on them could be a temporary solution.
“Although Lilongwe has many rivers, their source is the same, Dzalanyama forest which as we all know is being depleted. The government has tried to deploy the army there without success and so, in a way or another, there has got to be a way to strongly consider tapping water from Lake Malawi,” said Kenani.
However, he said that government has awarded Khato Civils to tap water from Salima to Lilongwe in a USD500 million without a feasibility which shows that the environmental impact assessment is being seen as unnecessary.
“Lilongwe Water Board is vague about when exactly the feasibility study or environmental assessment will be undertaken later, this means all parties in this contract consider the environmental impact assessment as trivial and unnecessary which is alarming,” he said.
According to Kenani, a project of this magnitude cannot be undertaken with total disregard for its environmental and social impact.