MULANJE, Malawi 31st March, 2022 (AEJ) - As an annual United Nations observance, the rest of the world commemorates World Water Day on 22nd March, celebrating the role of water as an importance natural resource and the need for humanity to have access to clean, safe and potable water.
This year’s World Water Day commemoration theme, “Ground water-making the invisible Visible,” signifies that ground water may seem to be invisible but its impact is visible everywhere globally.
Mulanje Mountain Biosphere Reserve has very strong ties to watershed and catchment protection including provision of both running and ground water to surrounding communities and those in distant places.
According to UNESCO, Biosphere reserves are 'learning places for sustainable development'. They are sites for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity.
One such interdisciplinary approaches is the decentralisation water supplying project under Mulanje district council. It is among the suppliers of ground water that is extracted from Mulanje Mountain. The water is supplied to the rural population in the district through pipes and accessed on boreholes to ensure that people have access to clean and potable water for free.
Edwin Mchirikizo is the district Water Development Officer for Mulanje. He said the theme for this year’s World Water Day is in tandem with the activities of Mulanje rural water supply project that is underway.
“As a government department, our mandate is to supply safe water for the rural population in Mulanje district. It is ground water supply because the water is extracted from aquifers from Mount Mulanje and offered to households through taps and sometimes boreholes are drilled in communities to ensure access to clean water,” Mchirikizo explained.
A key partner in the watershed conservation is the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust, an environmental organisation that facilitates sustainable responsible management through engaging communities around the reserve. Among the natural resources present at Mulanje Mountain Biosphere reserve include ground water, wood and non-wood forest products and wildlife species. It is also a source of the following rivers Nakaye, Malembe, Champaluka, Likhubula, Linje and Thuchila.
Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust Environmental Education and Communications Officer, Kondwani Chamwala urged the need for scaled-up environmental education as key to sustainable management of natural resources such as underground water which is often fresh during consumption.
“As Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust, we champion environmental conservation through educating communities to preserve ground water sources in order to ensure they use it in a sustainable manner. We are also embarking on landscape restoration of forests through the "Save Our Ceder’’ project realising that trees are also a source of water,’’ Chamwala explained in an interview.
Ground water remains the most reliable source of portable water for many lives. As climate issues come into play, ground water will be critical hence the need to conserve natural resources.
Water essentially referred as life, used in many households comes from the ground. Ground water has since served as a sustainable reserve citing the country’s water supply boards extracting groundwater it for people’s use.
Another key partner Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi is also championing environmental education among communities on the management of natural resources such as water among others.
Environmental Education Coordinator for Wildlife Environmental Society of Malawi in Mulanje, Lester Nanjala observed there is need for collaborative efforts in conservation of natural resources such as ground water.
“Ground water can be sustained through conservation of natural resources. This is possible only if people and institutions work together in the management of ecosystem and in biodiversity conservation hence the need to engage duty bearers and communities in such efforts collectively,” summed up Nanjala.