Energy and water needs analysis: towards solar photovoltaic water pumping in rural areas of Malawi
journal contributionposted on 03.03.2020, 14:17 by Esther Phiri, Ansley Kasambara, Paul Rowley, Richard Blanchard
Water and energy are both major challenges in rural areas of developing countries, including in the sub-Saharan Africa Region. This study assessed water and energy needs, challenges, and costs in order to produce a body of knowledge and further explore ways in which the water-energy synergies could be utilised. A mixed-mode survey method consisting of questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, observations and focus group discussions involving participants in the rural areas of Chiradzulu District in Malawi was employed. The study findings show that water access is generally inadequate, caused by high population, low yield, disparity in the distribution of water sources, and non-functionality. Using the contingent valuation method, logistic regression showed the only predictor of willingness to pay for drinking water was income and the predictors to pay for irrigation water were occupation, age and household size. Sustainable energy access was also found lacking for cooking and basic energy services such as for lighting, mobile charging and for radios. Biomass remains the main source of cooking energy, whereas battery powered torches have replaced paraffin for lighting. Overall, the household survey results imply that there is need for more sustainable water and energy provision. To address both challenges, the study recommends solar PV water pumping systems which can be designed in such a way that they can be simultaneously used for providing basic energy services. Further research is needed to address cooking energy choices.
The University of Malawi Research and Publications Committee
- Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering
- Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST)