A Kalondolondo assessment in Blantyre peri-urban on water supply services has faulted Blantyre Water Board for failing its mandate ofproviding quality, affordable and reliable water.
The assessment report compiled by Girls Empowerment Network (GENET) with funding from Kalondolondo program captures opinions/perception and feedback of water users in 20 sites around Blantyre peri-urban which include domestic, institutional, commercial and industrial users.
The assessment was done between March 13th , 2015 and May 15th 2015.
The report notes that consumers are not satisfied with the quality of water BWB as well as the reliability of the supply itself.
”The results of the assessment however showed that service users are not very satisfied with the quality of water that they receive in the homes despite it going through all these various processes to purify it,” reads in part the report released on Thursday.
GENET indicated in the report that despite BWB treating the water, consumers complained it is of poor quality all the times.
”Service users get water of poor quality especially in cases when there has been a dry out. The water that flows after a dry out contains mud, sometimes it has a stench and it looks whitish which is probably showing the presence of chlorine. This however happens for half an hour or so then the water that flows is normal”.
On reliability of water supply, the report notes that despite BWB mandated to provide reliable and affordable water supply services 24 through out the year, the water flow and availability is not reliable which has been the case even prior to the water crisis that Blantyre city experienced between the months of December 2014 and February of this year.
Reads the report: ”Water in most areas like Chilobwe,Ndirande, Chilomoni, Chirimba, Mzedi, Nkolokoti, Bangwe, Michiru, Mbayani, Namiyango comes out only once or twice a week and this is usually during the night. It flows for an hour or two the stops again.
”Dry outs in a period of 30 days range from 5 to 7 times. For some residents of some areas of Chilobwe (Chatha), it has been close to seven years ever since they had BWB supply water through their taps. They at present rely on water that is being channeled from Soche Mountain into the area and is accessed from about 3 taps within the community. For individuals who have the financial capability to get the water right in their homes”.
On water billing and pricing, the report reveals that consumers are not satisfied with the billing system, consistency in bill calculation and pricing of water in the homes and kiosks.
Users complained that bills are exorbitantly high as they don’t tally with most of their consumption in homes.
The water service provider has been blamed for solely being responsible for pricing and billing of water for its user’s weather domestic, industrial, commercial or institutional.
BWB who until recently uses hand held meter reading devices, assigns meter readers who collect meter readeings on monthly intervals.
And consumers assessed were not satisfied with the billing and pricing of the water service, arguing there is no transparency and consistency in terms of bill calculations, and that meter readers don’t visit customers consistently, raising questions as to how the service provider calculate or come up with their bills.
”Residents suspect that or hear rumours that, in an incident of a spillage, leakage or a bursting pipe, residents around are shared the bill so as to cater for the loss hence the high bills in their various households. Users also pointed out that the high bills go towards the maintenance and fuel costs of the water bowsers and tanks that move around providing water to people when there is a dry out” states the report.
GENET conducted the assessment with funding from Kalondolondo, which is a consortium and steering Committee comprising Plan Malawi, CONGOMA and Action aid.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :