Heavy Rains No Relief for Electricity Starved Malawians

There has been a return to extended electricity load shedding by ESCOM in the past few days lasting anywhere up to 10 hours. Earlier in the year there was a noticeable ease on the exercise, a development many of us took as a sign of hope and that things were getting back to normal. So what has happened or not happened?

One thing for sure is that the low levels of water in Lake Malawi and the Shire River have not improved significantly to have a long lasting positive impact on electricity generation. Escom even indicated that they are utilising more water from Shire River tributaries than from water flowing out of Lake Malawi. But because of river bank cultivation and deforestation, tributaries barely hold any water on a good day let alone on a dry day. So could the easing of rain in the southern region be a contributing factor? Perhaps, we are yet to be told.

One thing I do know is that last year, authorities in South Africa issued warnings that dams levels in the country could take up to five years to return to pre-drought levels if the country received normal to above normal rainfall over that period. One report here in BusinessTech. Malawi, and most of Southern Africa, was affected by the same drought but we all expect Lake Malawi to miraculously recover after a few weeks of rainfall.

When will the authorities administer this bitter pill, that of being told to wait a couple more years before things improve, to Malawians?