The lone borehole
By Tione Andsen, MANA
Over 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, Village Head Mwendera has confirmed.
During an Oxfam Media team that visited his area as a follow-up to CoVID-19 Response Project, the traditional leader 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.
“We have always experienced water problem in this area for a long time,” Mwendera said. “We have received a lot of promises from various stakeholders that they will drill additional boreholes but until now none were sunk.”
He said the other option as source of water for the households is a well from the near by grazing area which normally functions better during dry season since during rainy season the water quality is compromised.
He 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 said.
The CoVID-19 Response Project is being managed under a consortium of nine International Non-Governmental Organizations with Oxfam as one of the implementing partners, which is funded by European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO).
Chimutu Area Development Committee 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 water challenges 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 said.
Member of Parliament, Winstone Kaimapanjira, while admitting the area’s water problem 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 them 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.