WASHINGTON, March 23, 2023 — Nearly half a million people in the city of Blantyre are expected to gain access to safe water, sanitation services, and improved solid waste management services with the support of a $145 million grant from the *International Development Association (IDA) that was approved today. The project aims to improve water supply and sanitation services and enhance the operational and financial efficiency of the Blantyre Water Board.
Blantyre’s water supply system is under severe strain that is expected to worsen with increasing climate change impacts such as the recent Tropical Cyclone Freddy. Furthermore, the Blantyre Water Board faces major operational and financial challenges which impede the reliable supply of water to the city. Additionally, poor sanitation is a major public health issue such that when the city experiences flooding, uncollected solid waste ends up in sewers, drainage systems and water bodies, further exacerbating the floods and increasing the risk of waterborne diseases.
The project is therefore designed to address the immediate and medium-term water security and sanitation needs and support a long-term solution through the construction of new water sources, independent power sources for water supply infrastructure, network upgrades and improvement in efficiency, sewerage system upgrades, and solid waste management improvements.
“As we see from the ongoing cholera outbreak and the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Freddy, very poor access to water and sanitation translates into immediate and major public health issues. The new Water and Sanitation Project aims to address the underlying structural issues to build resilience to external shocks, including through the institutional strengthening of the Blantyre Water Board itself,” says Hugh Riddell, World Bank Country Manager for Malawi
The six-year project, to be implemented by Blantyre Water Board and Blantyre City Council, will focus on investments in water production, network stabilization, leak reduction, renewable energy sources, and water network expansion to unserved areas. It will also contribute to the rehabilitation and upgrading of sewer network and connections, institutional development, and a contingency emergency response to support preparedness and rapid response measures to address disaster, emergency and/or catastrophic events.
The project is part of the Series of Projects (SOPs) until 2032 proposed by the Government of Malawi to support the development of a national water program and to increase water supply and sanitation access by combining various financing instruments to maximize investment efficiency and incentives for strengthening institutional capacity, operational and financial efficiency, and service quality.
*The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 74 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has provided $496 billion to 114 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $34.7 billion over the last three years (FY20-FY22), with about 70 percent going to Africa. Learn more online: IDA.worldbank.org. #IDAworks