Cost of Lilongwe-Salima water project in Malawi revised

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The initial cost of the proposed Lilongwe-Salima water project in Malawi, which was estimated at US $400m, has recently been revised to about US $298m. This was revealed by Welani Chilenga, the chairman of Malawi’s Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources.

Mr. Chilenda was made the revelation after a virtual meeting attended by the East Africa’s country Ministry of Finance, its Department of Environmental Affairs and the Water Board of Lilongwe, the states capital city as well as representatives from Khato Civils, the South African company appointed to implement the project in question.

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Concerns about the Lilongwe-Salima drinking water project

The Lilongwe-Salima drinking water project has in the past raised a couple of concerns from the public and other institutions. For example, Malawians raised alarm on the proposed cost of the project, and earlier on the project had paralyzed because of a procedure launched by the civil society protesting against the choice of the contractor, Khato Civils, who the Supreme Court of Malawi later on ruled in favor of.

The people residing close to the project site were also seeking compensation for the expropriation of their land and on the hand, the environmental advocates were demanding environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) for the project before its execution.

An overview of the expected construction works

As part of the project, Khato Civils together with South Africas South Zambezi Engineering Services will build a water intake in Lake Malawi with the capacity to pump 50,000m3 of raw water per day. They will also construct a 50 cm diameter pipeline to deliver the raw water to a new treatment plant situated about 2 kilometers away.

Furthermore, they will construct a 5,000m3 reservoir in the locality of Lifuwu another one in Kanyenyeva and Dowa, in addition to a 111-kilometer pipeline to Kanengo, from where the drinking water will be distributed to the populations of Lilongwe and her surrounding areas.

The government of Malawi is expected to finance the project through the Lilongwe Water Board (LWB).