On 23rd and 24th March 2024, Mr. Mussa Ching’amba, a University of Malawi student in the School of Natural and Applied Sciences enrolled in the Master of Science in Modelling and Governance programme, attended the 2024 National Water Conference and Exhibition at the Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe. The conference attracted various water and sanitation practitioners, and 15 of them presented their research papers. Among these 15 papers, Ching’amba's paper was voted as the most impressive.

The conference, held under the theme “Leveraging Water for Peace,” was organized by the Water Services Association of Malawi (WASAMA) and was graced by the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Honorable Abida Mia. The conference was aligned with the annual celebration of World Water Day, which falls on 22nd March. Several activities took place during the conference, including a panel discussion where various matters related to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) were highlighted. Additionally, the conference provided researchers with an opportunity to share their findings from various studies.

“I am a WASH practitioner working with the Southern Region Water Board,” Ching’amba remarked. “I attended the conference to present a paper on one of the main topics discussed: Catchment management.” His research, entitled “Assessment of Recent Drivers of Change in The Flow Regime of the Mulunguzi River Basin, Malawi,” aimed to assess the recent causes of change in the river flow regime of the Mulunguzi River. Specifically, the study analyzed alterations in land use and land cover (LULC) in the Mulunguzi River Basin between 1990 and 2020, examined recent hydro-climatic trends in the catchment, and evaluated the isolated and combined effects of modifications in LULC and climate change on river flow.

“The knowledge I gained at UNIMA provided me with an understanding of how water resources could be impacted by various factors. With the dwindling of many critical water resources in Malawi, I utilized the modeling knowledge to conduct research on the main environmental factors affecting the Mulunguzi River Basin, specifically land use and land cover and climate change,” he remarked.

With excitement, Ching’amba mentioned that his paper emerged as the best, as it comprehensively covered issues affecting water resources. Additionally, the paper discussed how climate change and catchment degradation affect water resources.