Nkula Water Users Association (WUA) has expressed concern over wanton cutting down of trees in Machinga Forest.
Nkula WUA acting manager Wasili Akimu said the association gets water from gravity-fed schemes in the forest reserves, which are currently under heavy deforestation, leading to the drying up of most rivers.
“This is affecting the association’s operations since we also fail to collect money that people pay for accessing the water; hence, limiting our economic development,” he said.
Nkula WUA is a community-based structure that facilitates and oversees water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion services.
It also promotes conservation of the catchment areas in Liwonde Forest Reserve.
“Our association is trying to engage some stakeholders such as local leaders, community-based policing structures and the forestry office in minimising deforestation,” said Akimu.
Machinga district forestry officer Harry Chalira said he is aware of the rapid deforestation taking place in Liwonde and Malosa forest reserves.
“We are working hard to curb the problem,” he said, adding that his office engages the police to confiscate charcoal, firewood and timber.
In his remarks, Traditional Authority (Nkula said deforestation is increasing due to influx of charcoal producers from other areas where forests have been depleted.