Making the case for improved planning, construction and testing of water supply infrastructure in Malawi
conference contributionposted on 08.11.2018, 11:10 by Nick Mannix, J. Norrie, F. Paterson, Muthi Nhlema, P. Mleta, M. Nkhata, G. Wanangwa, Save Kumwenda, D. Clarke, Robert M. Kalin
Detailed surveys of poorly functioning rural water supply points (boreholes fitted with handpumps) in the Southern Region of Malawi show that poor functionality is most commonly caused by a) poor water resource (quantity and quality) and b) sub-standard borehole construction. Only 24% of surveyed water points showed problems caused by poor handpump operation, maintenance and management. The majority of problems observed are caused by sub-standard construction of water points prior to commissioning for use, and are typically permanent and irremediable. These issues are contributing to excessive service delivery costs through a) extended down times, b) disproportionate maintenance requirements and c) abandoned infrastructure; the resulting burden precipitates the failure of community based management approaches. This burden could be dramatically reduced by ensuring water points are proven to comply with Malawian Government standards, prior to commissioning for use. Water points not meeting these standards must not be commissioned for use.
The authors would like to acknowledge funding from the Scottish Gov’t Climate Justice Fund Water Futures Programme (Prof Kalin Director), and our partner the Government of Malawi Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development (MoAIWD) for their ongoing support.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering
- Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)