11 August 2020
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Tuesday, 02 June 2020 11:45

SRBDP implementation commences in Chitipa

Written by  Bishop Witmos

Chitipa, June 2, Mana: Governments of Malawi and the Republic of Tanzania have embarked on an implementation stage of the US$ 6.4 million Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded, Songwe River Basin Development Programme (SRBDP) along the Songwe River Boundary in Chitipa.

The four year initiative will be implemented under Strengthening Trans-Boundary Cooperation and Integrated Natural Resources Management, Flood Early Warning and Disaster Risk Management Project.

Speaking Monday when he briefed members of Chitipa District Executive Committee(DEC), Senior Hydrologist for SRBDP, Chikondi Mbemba said the programme aims at reducing shifting of the international border between the two countries in the lower flood plain due to meandering of Songwe River.

He said apart from conserving the catchment area of the river, the project intends to build dam for hydro-power generation and fish farming.

“There has been unnecessary cutting down of trees, as well as cultivation practices which are not environmental friendly by communities in the catchment area of the Songwe River. This resulted into frequent flooding in the lower area of the basin, a development which causes shifting of boundary between Malawi and Tanzania.

‘As such, through this lead project, we would like to conserve the catchment through agro-forestry, soil and water conservation interventions,” Mbemba said.

He said the dam would among other things stabilize the flow of water in the Lower Songwe and would benefit citizens of both countries through power generation and supply.

District Commissioner (DC) for Chitipa, Humphreys Gondwe advised stakeholders that would be involved in the implementation of the project to be transparent and accountable to each other for the project to achieve its objectives.

Around 15,000 hectares with a population of more than 52,000 people get affected annually by flooding and shifting of the river course.

The Songwe River Basin falls within seven districts of Kyela, Illeje, Mbozi, Momba and Mbeya rural in Tanzania, Karonga and Chitipa in Malawi.