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Water Ministry Refutes Liwonde Barrage Closure Claims

Chapota (second from left) inspects operations being done at Liwonde Barrage in Machinga Chapota (second from left) inspects operations being done at Liwonde Barrage in Machinga - pic by Eamon Piringu
Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation Liana Kakhobwe Chapota has refuted claims that are making rounds in the country indicating that Liwonde Barrage in Machinga has been closed which has resulted in the swelling of Lake Malawi and Shire River.
Chapota who inspected the swollen Lake Malawi in Mangochi and Liwonde Barrage on the Shire River in Machinga on Thursday says the country has been receiving higher rainfall in the northern region, adding its closure would affect operations of Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO) downstream.
Chapota disclosed that her ministry will construct boundaries along Lake Malawi to restrict lakeshore dwellers from constructing buildings along the lake which has seen flooding of water into lodges and some residential areas.
"The issue of the barrage is not there to stop by the flow of water but to regulate the water that is going downstream, so it must be noted that the barrage is operating 24 hours non-stop," said Chapota.
"The National Water Resources Authority is in full control of the barrage that can never be closed. We will soon be marking boundaries on lake Malawi to indicate and restrict those who have been constructing their structures close to the lake in recent years," She added.
Speaking earlier at Nkope in Mangochi District where part of a village has been turned into an island as it has been surrounded by water from Lake Malawi, Sub Traditional Authority Chiwalo said the most affected are school going pupils who are now using paying boats to and from school.
Board Chairperson of the National Water Resources Authority, James Mambulu says due to higher levels of upstream of the barrage, they are now supplying to EGENCO 500 cubic meters per second from the required 300 cubic meters.
"Now, since April 17, the water levels have risen with about 66 centimeters, which a higher figure. People are questioning why there is a lot of water, but they should remember that the northern region is currently experiencing higher rainfall which is increasing the waters.
The water levels in Lake Malawi and Shire river have forced some lodge operators to temporarily close their businesses as water has flooded into their buildings.
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