The Central Region Water Board (CRWB) has opposed the use of parallel water supply systems in hospitals that are within its catchment area.
The board says the law recognises it as the sole supplier of water but has admitted that it was still facing challenges with infrastructure to meet demand.
This comes against the background that some hospitals in the country have been facing water shortages but, according to the law, they cannot create parallel water supply systems such as boreholes.
The development prompted Parliament’s Committee on Health to convene a closed-door meeting with stakeholders so that CRWB, district health offices (DHOs) and legislators could map the way forward on the issue.
Committee chairperson expressed Mathews Ngwale concern over the stand-off because water suppliers and healthcare service delivery facilities.
CRWB Chief Executive Officer John Makwenda told The Daily Times after the meeting that they were just abiding by legal provisions on the issue.
“As we stand in Malawi, most of these DHOs are in what we call our water areas. As such, we are the only institution which is mandated to supply water to these areas but we face the problem of infrastructure,” he said.
Makwenda said they had made arrangements with DHOs so that some of the water challenges being faced could be addressed.
In August last year, Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) wrote Thyolo and Nsanje DHOs stopping them from using boreholes they had drilled.
Reports indicated that the hospitals resorted to using boreholes because SRWB was failing to supply water consistently.
In recent years, water boards have been facing financial challenges, a problem compounded by the continued use of old supply systems, thereby increasing the volume of non-revenue water.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.