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Shire River Basin Management Program (Phase 1), Malawi

We’re working on the catchment component of the Shire River Basin Management Program (Phase 1), Malawi, to improve land and water resources and bring social, economic and environmental benefits. Our experts will help rehabilitate and manage catchment areas and protected areas to reduce erosion and improve lives.

We are very pleased with the work that Mott MacDonald is delivering for us under the catchment management component of the Shire River Basin Management Program. They have developed a good understanding of the issues on the ground and are working well and effectively to develop usable and realistic management plans for these areas.

William Chipeta, Project Coordinator, Shire River Basin Management Program (Phase I)

Opportunity

The largest river in Malawi, the Shire River is crucial to the country's economic, environmental, and social well-being. The Shire River Basin is the location for the production of 96% of Malawi's electricity from hydropower as well as the source of water for Blantyre District and several major irrigation schemes.

The Shire River's forests and land resources also support critical ecosystem services while contributing to a number of key sectors.

Solution

In the first phase of a program financed by the World Bank, four catchment areas will be rehabilitated: Upper Lisungwi in Ntcheu District, Upper Wamkulumadzi in Neno District, the escarpment upstream of Kapichira Falls in Blantyre District, and the Chingale catchment in the Zomba and Machinga Districts. These areas combined cover more than 5 square miles (approximately 130,000 hectares).

On behalf of the government, our experts will develop and implement methods and interventions to restore and protect the basin’s natural resources and existing infrastructure. We will play a strong role in mobilizing communities and community organizations at the district and village levels, with the aim of improving land, soil, and forest management and increasing agricultural productivity and nonagricultural enterprises in a sustainable way.

Outcome

The project will protect and manage the Shire River Basin ecosystem while enhancing its opportunities for economic growth and poverty alleviation.

By providing guidance on ownership and sustainable practices to communities living in the catchment areas, we are helping residents to change their agricultural practices, develop alternative livelihoods, plant more trees, and manage soil erosion.

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