Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Malawi: Water and Sanitation Profile
US Agency for International Development (USAID)

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Sector overview

Malawi is considered a water stressed country with less than 1,700 m3 of freshwater per capita. In addition, Malawi is experiencing remarkable population growth, especially in its urban and peri-urban areas. Consequently, as the country grows, water availability further declines. Future water demand projections predict that Malawi will fall to less than 1,000 m3 of freshwater per capita by as early as 2015, making it a “water scarce” nation. Water scarcity will severely limit agricultural productivity and access to water for people in a country with an “ultra” poverty rate of 22 percent.

Only 65 percent of Malawi’s population has access to improved water and sanitation. To achieve Malawi’s 2015 MDG targets for water and sanitation (WSS) more than six million additional residents will require access. The challenges to meeting the MDG include aging water systems, growing urban and peri-urban populations, high levels of non-revenue water and low cost recovery within the utilities (exacerbated by the non-payment of Government bills). Communal water points and sanitation facilities increasingly underserve market centers and small towns. Interactions between rudimentary latrines and shallow wells make sanitation particularly problematic in peri-urban areas. Financial, managerial and technical capacity are severely lacking at all levels.

A focal point of donor activity in the WSS sector is the Second National Water Development Project (NWDP II). The project includes $50 million from the World Bank and an additional $25million from the Africa Catalytic Growth Fund. NWDP ll addresses water supply and sanitation investments and rehabilitation in Blantyre and Lilongwe (the largest cities), water supply and sanitation for the market centers and small towns, water resources management, and sector management and urban water sector reform (including urban sanitation planning). NWDP ll is a SWAp or Sector-Wide Approach program designed to provide a framework for multi-donor financing and coordination. The EU, EIB, CIDA, AfDB, Netherlands, UNICEF, UNDP, JICA and others are all participants in NWDP ll.

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