Malawi’s consumer watchdog, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) is on Thursday next week scheduled to hold demonstration in protest against utility-service provider Blantyre Water Board (BWB) for its inefficiency in improving water scarcity currently at critical moment
in Blantyre city.
Aside the demonstrations, which will attract affected residents from the townships and residential areas within the commercial city Blantyre, Cama is expected to hand over its petition to BWB with
In an interview with Nyasa Times, Cama executive director John Kapito said they have been forced to call for the demonstration due to continued water shortages, which have affected businesses and lives of many people.
“Basic services such as hospitals and hospitality institutions are failing to provide consumers adequately and safely because of this water shortage. Businesses have suffered too impacting greatly on their production levels and provision of basic commodities to consumers in Blantyre and the country in general,” lamented Kapito.
Kapito who was recently appointed Chairperson for Southern Region Water Board said consumers have been aggravated by BWB failure to listen to their request to understand and appreciate gravity of frequent water shortages.
He has since demanded government to immediately restructure and remove the incompetent management of Blantyre Water Board if water supplies are not restored in Blantyre with immediate effect.
“Water is life and denying access to consumers is an infringement of a basic right to life. At no given time should consumers be denied access to such a basic commodity and the Management of Blantyre Water Board must understand its responsibility in the provision of water to
consumers at all times,” he said.
Kapito added: “The Board must to take full responsibility where there are disruptions and ensure that its consumers are provided with alternative sources of water. The use of water tankers must not be an afterthought but an established standby option for consumers to minimise inconvenience when problems occur.”
He feels that consumers pay for this water service and should not be subjected to unnecessary suffering resulting from gross mismanagement and poor service delivery by management of Blantyre
“We urge Blantyre Water Board to rectify its problems in the shortest time possible and have foresight, plan ahead, and put in place structural capabilities to minimize water shortage with the ever growing population of the city. Apologising for failure to provide water, on reasons that could have been avoided with proper planning, is not justified and is an insult to the water users in Blantyre.
“Our request to providers of basic services such as water has always been that any apology must be accompanied with an immediate alternative for the supply of such a service. Considering the
sensitivity and the importance of water to every consumer, it is our intention as consumers living in Blantyre to stand up and demand that Blantyre Water Board must immediately restore uninterrupted supply of water.”
The human rights activist argued that if BWB was facing genuine technical problems hindering the delivery of water through the pipe system, they must provide consumers with water through tankers in the morning and evening on a daily basis until such a time that their technical problems are rectified.
Meanwhile, Cama has listed seven pointers, demanding BWB to rectify the current water crisis before the consumers take the law I their own hands.
Among the demands Cama has called on BWB to immediately provide and restore water supply to consumers without disruptions, provide consumers with alternative daily water supplies through the use of water tanks when the Board has technical constraints, and provide water through the use of water tanks and ensure that a detailed programme is provided to consumers.
“BWB should ensure that consumers are not provided with inflated water bills at a time they are not getting any water supplies through the normal system; ensure that consumers are informed ahead of time on any technical works being undertaken by the board and how water supply may