World Water Day 2014 celebrated in Malawi

Credit: WSSCC/Katherine AndersonCredit: WSSCC/Katherine Anderson

Malawi’s Water and Environmental Sanitation Network (WES Network) hosted World Water Day celebrations under the international theme Water and Energy.

WES Network is an umbrella body for all Water organization working on Water in Malawi promoting sustainable access to safe water and improved sanitation for all Malawians. The Network also coordinates the WASH campaign in Malawi with support from WSSCC.

The conference included themes on sustainability of water sources and the role of water and energy in economic development. The forum offered water, sanitation, hygiene and energy professionals from across the country an opportunity to reflect on and embrace the role that water plays in development of many key sectors in Malawi.

Discussions of the water and energy nexus focused on five sub themes namely: Effects of energy demands (bio fuels) on water resource availability and quality; Urban water supply and hydro-energy requirements; Interdependence between water and energy; The sustainability of water sources and The role of water and energy in economic development.

The conference was officially opened by the Minister of Water development and Irrigation Hon. Annita Kalinde. In her speech she emphasized the need for the Energy and Water sectors to work together to ensure effective delivery of the ware and energy services in Malawi. She specifically expressed concern on the high water tariff in Blantyre city compared to Lilongwe which she indicated to be a result of the cost of electricity used to pump water.

Malawi’s Minister of Energy Hon. Ibrahim Matola was also in attendance. The Board chair of WES Network, Dr. Judith Kamoto emphasized the importance of forums that allow meaningful debate among energy and water stakeholders as the two sectors could not be separated.

The national conference was held at the College of Medicine Sports complex in Blantyre on 21 March 2014 and attracted more than 100 participants representing government, development partners, the Water Boards, ESCOM, local and international NGOs, academia, the private sector and journalists.

The workshop was organized with support from World Vision, WSSCC, Water Aid, Concern Universal Plan Malawi and other development partners. Before the opening the conference, the two Ministers viewed exhibitions from Water for people, WES Network, Water Aid and Polyplast.