OVERVIEW: Water Resources

Environmental Management Framework

Development and the Environment

Soil and Land



Water Resources

Biological Diversity

Human Habitat

Climate Change

Water Resources

Malawi is generally rich in water resources that is stocked in its lakes, rivers and aquifers. All the water is replenished by rainfall falling in catchment areas, on the surface of the water bodies, and in recharge areas for groundwater resources. However, water resources are declining and are insufficient to meet the demands from domestic, industrial and irrigation users. Low flows in river channels due to recurrent droughts are a great concern. Recently, this has affected electricity generation in the country.

Further, water quality in rivers in both urban and rural areas is deteriorating due to pollution from industries, improperly managed sewerage works and non-point pollution sources such as agro-chemicals and poor sanitary conditions. Flooding due to reduced infiltration in catchments as a result of deforestation are also noted as important threats to availability of quality water

While commendable progress have been made in the development of water resources, it will be important to address major environmental issues in order to conserve the resources from further depletion and degradation. These include poor management of catchment areas, unsuitable agricultural practices, rapid population growth, inappropriate discharge of industrial wastes and weak institutional structures for enforcing the water resources policy and legislation.

In order to meet the demand for quality water in particular, and enhance the sustainability of the water resources in general, it is recommended to:

  • produce a comprehensive database on distribution, demand, supply and quality of water resources in Malawi, at national and district levels;

  • address major problems of unsuitable agricultural practices and emphasise cormnunity awareness on the importance of catchment protection to enhance availability of water in the country's rivers;

  • address the poor state of equipment for assessment of water quality in hydrological stations as well as at laboratories;

  • prioritise higher investment in water and, in particular, wastewater infrastructure Including inappropriate discharge of industrial wastes.


 Contents | Foreword  | Acknowlegdements | Editorial Process
Contributors | Preface | Acronyms  | Overview
Chapters: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Appendix I
Lists: Maps | Figures | Tables | Boxes | References