Vice President Saulos Chilima has urged water boards to improve access to piped water and ensure that the country gradually graduates from boreholes.
Chilima made the remarks during a meeting with management teams of the Central Region Water Board (CRWB), Northern Region Water Board (NRWB), Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) National Water Resources Authority (NWRA) and the Greenbelt Authority (GA).
He noted that water supply is a catalyst for socio-economic development of any nation and Malawi cannot discuss jobs, health and education without water.
According to Chilima who is also Minister of Public Sector Reforms, statistics show that one in every three Malawians (about 5.8 million people) do not have access to clean water.
“The lack of access to clean water by our people could also be attributed to our failure to innovate and think outside the box to tackle the problem once and for all,” said Chilima
During the meeting, participants took time isolating reforms that would help the country achieve the goal of access to potable water for all.
“For a start, we have emphasized that in 2020, we should aim higher as a country by thinking piped water so that we gradually graduate from boreholes. To achieve this, we will require efficiency and professionalism – but above all innovation – on how the water boards conduct their business,” said Chilima.
He noted that the water boards are working to reduce non-revenue water (NRW) which will free up resources for expansion.
NRWB plans to reduce NRW further from 31 percent while CRWB is aiming at 28 percent from the current 32% within 12 months.
Chilima also hailed initiatives such as installation of prepaid meters, K623 million debt recovery by NRWB and projects and operational innovations by the LWB including the Salima Lilongwe Water Project.
He added that one of the game changing reforms his ministry is encouraging the water boards to implement is the diversification of power sources through installation of solar power for water pumping.
“[It is] an initiative that will not only reduce operational costs but also free up the national grid,” said Chilima.