The CJF Programme, with the support from the strategic partners Bawi consultants and Baseflow, organised a Conference for the Malawian groundwater professionals in Lilongwe on 9th January, 2019. The goals of the Conference were to present the groundwater related activities of the Programme; increase awareness of the Malawian water related legislation among the stakeholders; and discuss the need and usefulness of a professional body in Malawi aimed to look after the groundwater sector.
The Conference was attended by national, regional and district level officers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD) and representatives from District Councils, Water Boards, Ntaional Water Resources Authority (NWRA), NGOs, Southern African Development Community (SADC), Universities, drillers and the private sector.
Apart from several presentations and Q&A sessions in relation to groundwater resources, drilling practices and related legislation in Malawi, the Conference comprised interesting discussions about the aspects that require urgent attention; enforcement of regulations; accountability and usefulness of a professional body.
The attendees concluded that with a general agreement that an entity to advocate for groundwater in Malawi is needed. However, further discussion about its role, structure, aims and the potential conflict or synergy with the Malawian Water Institute (MAWI) was highlighted. Furthermore, the MoAIWD emphasised the importance of proper borehole drilling supervision and knowledge of the legislation and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), as well as the need for collaboration and cooperation between drillers and supervisors. Finally, it was announced that the CJF will continue supporting Malawians groundwater professionals to be part of the International Association of Hydrogeologists.
This Conference is one of the activities that are part of the Government to Government (Malawi-Scotland) collaboration, which the CJF leads following the guidance of the MoAIWD.