Malawi is rich in water resources with Lake Malawi and other surface water comprising 21 percent of the total surface area of the country (Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development, 2007). However, most of the population live distant of the lake where surface water is seasonal and of questionable quality.

The rural population depends strongly on the availability of surface water supplies which can be highly variable in availability, depending on the season. Many urban areas obtain water from dammed water sheds in highlands surrounding them. Surface water is a strong component of water supply in Malawi and its loss of availability during the dry seasons coupled with increasing demand stresses the system. This has resulted in an increase in tapping ground waters which are less susceptible to seasonal weather changes.

Population growth will continue to place pressure on water resources as well. The current estimated population is 16.3M people increasing at a rate of 400,000/year (The World Bank, 2012). Agricultural expansion to keep pace with population growth both as a source of food and as income will further strain water supplies.

The Malawian economy is dependent mostly on agricultural production of cotton, tobacco, tea, and sugar (Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development, 2007). Much of this production occurs in the Chikhwawa region, relying heavily on local surface water supplies. Increased consumption of these supplies, or increased use of fertilizers, can have a negative impact on the groundwater supply both in quantity and quality of water.

To increase water security in the country and to help the nation reach the 2015 U.N. Millennium Development Goals, Malawi has developed a vision of “water for all, always,” (Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development, 2007). This has increased the demand for sustainable water resources to all residents in the country and in rural areas this is primarily achieved through groundwater-tapping boreholes.

Extracted from (Polmanteer, 2013)


The Scottish Government has policy responsibility for maintaining and improving the quality of all fresh and marine waters in Scotland, and works closely with a number of partners - including Scottish Water, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and water users - to ensure that our water is kept clean and free of pollution. 

Retrieved from: gov.scot/policies/water/

Scottish Ministers have committed to making Scotland a Hydro Nation and they have underpinned that commitment with their statutory duty in the Water Resources (Scotland) Act 2013 to "take such reasonable steps as they consider approptiate for the purpose of ensuring the development of the value of Scotland's water resources", i.e. economic and non-economic value.


Scotland's water resource is significant and in a world demanding more food and water, there is good reason to nurture it for long term sustainable use.  Water is of fundamental importance for Scotland’s economy, health, social wellbeing and environment. All businesses rely on the water environment in some way or another and water plays a prominent role in the success of many sectors of the economy. Some are of strategic importance to Scotland’s economy, such as tourism, food and drinks manufacturing and renewable energy generation.


The hydro-economy provides huge opportunities for Scotland which we are determined to seize. Establishing Scotland as a Hydro Nation will maximise the benefits to the Scottish economy through the economic development and good stewardship of Scotland’s abundant water resources.

Water is a global resource and Scotland is raising its international profile as a Hydro Nation through knowledge exchange and developing trade opportunities for services, manufacturing and research and supporting international water development projects. Scotland as a Hydro Nation will gain direct economic benefit and enjoy an enhanced international profile.


With the Hydro Nation Forum’s help we continually review our overarching strategy on our 4 key and interlinking themes of National, Innovation, International, and Knowledge to ensure our Hydro Nation programme is fit for purpose and is working to support the sector’s needs. 

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© 2018 Climate Justice Fund: Water Futures Programme