US$125 million for Shire River Basin Conservation

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The World Bank has provided the Malawi government with US$125 million, about K33 billion, to improve land and water management along the country’s Shire river basin.

The World Bank’s board of executive directors approved the fund Thursday hoping the funds will cover the first phase of the Shire River Basin Management Program.

A major component of the support is to rehabilitate the 47 year old Kamuzu barrage in Liwonde which regulates the river’s water flow.

The barrage upgrading will also increase water security for critical downstream users including hydropower plants which generate a portion of Malawi’s electric power.

“The first phase will lay the information, institutional, and investment foundations for the program,” indicates the World Bank in a statement.

Another key component of the project is to support catchment plans and harmonized national guidelines.

Selected catchment areas will be rehabilitated through promoting interventions like soil and water conservation; forestry; stream and water control, including check dams and small earth dams within the first phase according to the bank.

The 520 km long Shire River provides water for agriculture, fisheries, hydropower generation, tourism, urban water supply, and associated environmental functions.

The funding is to benefit livelihoods of 430,000 people while conserving the Basin’s resources and ecosystem.

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