By Tione Andsen – Mana.
LOver 300 households in Lilongwe North East in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Chimutu in Lilongwe use a single borehole as the only protected source of water, a local leader has confirmed.
Village Head Mwendera disclosed the development in Mwendera Village on Monday when Oxfam Media team visited the area as a follow-up to COVID-19 Response Project being managed under a consortium of nine International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGO).
Oxfam is one of the implementing partners of the project which is funded by European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO).
Village Head Mwendera said six villages of Mwendera, Mpesa, Chaziya, Kauma, Jani and Grant access the single borehole and that the area has had perennial water problems for several areas.
“Water problem in this area has been there for a long time. We have received a lot of promises from various stakeholders that they will drill additional boreholes but until now none were sunk,” Mwendera said.
He said the other option as source of water for the households is a well from the nearby grazing area which normally functions better during dry season.
The local leader said during rainy season, households fail to access water from the well because the water quality is compromised.
He, therefore, expressed gratitude to Oxfam for providing them with Chlorine which he said has reduced cases of water borne diseases in the area.
“We are using chlorine and households are now drinking protected water despite drawing it from unprotected sources,” Mwendera added.
Chimutu Area Development Committee (ADC) Chairperson, Lyfas Lomosi, said the water problem has been compounded with the call for communities to regularly wash their hands due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said to ease the situation, Pacific Company helped the area to maintain 86 non-functional boreholes.
“We have a challenge of water and we need to be assisted. With the current situation of need for frequent hand washing, it will be difficult to do it on regular basis,” Lomosi added.
Member of Parliament for the area, Winstone Kaimapanjira, admitted that water problem was a big issue in the area.
He said the area has proved to be difficult in terms of borehole drilling because of its rocky nature and low water table.
“Every year we are allocated four boreholes per constituency by the district council. We are failing to reach out to all areas in need of boreholes, hence water problem continues in my area,” Kaimapanjira said.
Another challenge facing the area is vandalism of boreholes which has left a lot of boreholes non-functional, according to the legislator.
Oxfam Country Director in Malawi, Langalireni Mihowa, said the project did not have enough resources to sink new boreholes or rehabilitate all boreholes surrounding impact areas.
She concurred with the area’s MP that the major challenge is vandalism of the boreholes in areas of traditional authorities Chimutu and Tsabango where theft of hand pumps is common.