Water users demand improved supply, query tariffs  

Water users in Bangwe Township have bemoaned the continued intermittent water supply in the area, calling on Blantyre Water Board (BWB) to take heed of their concerns before the situation gets worse.

Part of the audience during interface meeting in Bangwe

Bangwe is one of the townships in Blantyre hugely affected by poor water supply due to lower pressure, according to BWB officials.

The utility provider recently installed a new pumping machine in the area to improve the situation aside from installing storage tanks through Bangwe-Mpingwe Water Users Association (WUA) which sales water through communal kiosks.

However, the situation is not improving as consumers are being forced to go for days without water and some have resorted to drink from unprotected water sources such as rivers and streams.

Speaking during an interface meeting organized by Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) held with WUA officials and communities on Thursday, one of consumers Masautso Nyala bemoaned the conduct by BWB for not taking their situation seriously.

“They know our situation and it is worry-some that up to now nothing is improving. Sometimes we wonder why we have these kiosks which do not have water supply. Blantyre Water Board should start treating our concerns seriously,” complained Nyala.

The concerns by consumers in Bangwe came days after other water consumers in Chirimba questioned the conduct of some water sellers who have been charging them more than set water prices.

Set water prices for all kiosks in Blantyre peri-urban areas are uniform with a 20 litre pale selling at K15 and a 40-litre pale at K30.

However, some water sellers especially in village headman Suya, Chirimba have been charging consumers K50 per a 40-litre pale raising questions on how the water user association in the area is handling its employees.

“Apart from being on kiosks on time, the water sellers are charging us K50 for a pale that is sold at K30. This is something we have been complaining all along and we need urgent response from the WUA officials,” said Katie Chiphwanya, a consumer in Chirimba.

However, BWB officials were not present at the meeting.

 Consumers Association of Malawi Projects Officer, Maurice Nkawihe said it was the desire of CAMA to see consumers rising up to demand for their rights.

 ‘It is in our interest to see that consumers are able to stand and demand for better services. It is their right and we hope through such interface meetings service providers and consumers will be able to discuss on how to solve their differences and challenges affecting service delivery,” said Nkawihe.

CAMA in partnership with Water For People (WFP) which secured local funding from Tilitonse Fund has been implementing an Institutional Strengthening Project for Water Users Associations (WUA) In Peri-Urban Areas of Blantyre City.

The project aims at strengthening the existing network of Water Users Associations (WUAs) through deliberate coalition building to enhance accountability and transparency in their service delivery and free the WUA’s from political interference.

 

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