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African official tours Water Board

by Matt Harvey

ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR

A leader from Malawi, a country in southeastern Africa, was in Clarksburg on Monday to learn about our water.

Yusuf Mwawa of Malawi's Ministry of Water Development is visiting West Virginia this week as part of his country's bid to improve its infrastructure.

Clarksburg Water Board President Robert S. Glotfelty and CWB General Manager Patsy S. Trecost answered questions from Mwawa on Monday afternoon before they took him on a tour of the Clarksburg Water Board's plant.

Mwawa also was to visit the Preston Public Service District No. 1 today.

"The problem we're having in Africa in general, and Malawi in particular, is potable water," Mwawa said.

That lack of clean drinking water can lead to problems like cholera and other diseases, Mwawa said.

The tour was scheduled through West Virginia University's National Drinking Water Clearinghouse, a non-profit organization that provides technical assistance for drinking water systems throughout the United States.

Sanjay Saxena, director of the clearinghouse, said he was initially approached by a group from the World Bank that helps finance many of Malawi's infrastructure projects.

The West Virginia Rural Water Association, which works with the clearinghouse, then suggested a tour of the Clarksburg Water Board.

Doug Skeen, the logistics manager for the West Virginia Rural Water Association, said the size of the Clarksburg Water Board fit with what Mwawa wanted to study. And, Skeen said the rural water association was familiar with the Clarksburg Water Board plant because the association previously had used it for training.

Many of the questions from Mwawa and World Bank representatives focused on how the board governs the use of the water from the 10-million-gallon-a-day plant.

Malawi has three water boards to cover the entire, 45,747-square mile country, with each board serving about 20 cities. Mwawa, who studied at Howard University and Johns Hopkins in the United States, appoints board members now, but said that may eventually change to a system in which they are elected.

Malawi is about the size of Pennsylvania. It is surrounded by Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania.

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