CRWB, LWB named worst water providers
A report released Tuesday in Lilongwe by Water and Environmental Sanitation Network (WES Network) has named Central Region Water Board (CRWB) and Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) as the worst water providers in the country, infringing on people’s right to access to water in the process.
But the Malawi Urban Water Situation Assessment Report finds Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) as the best water provider with steady supply of water to its customers. The survey was conducted last year in all the districts.
WES Network National Coordinator, Chrispin Bokho, told a news conference that failure to provide people with water is violating their right to water and the development subjects the people’s lives to waterborne diseases and loss of socio-economic development contribution.
“While water supply was quite well in the North, Central Region is the worst in terms of water access. Apart from having some districts and urban areas that have high water stress, it was also observed that some of the districts may face the challenges in few months or years to come. Ntchisi topped the list of districts with high water stress,” Bokho said.
It was learnt that the plant that is used to supply water in Ntchisi was designed and installed to cater for 20 families by then in 1968.
Thus, even when all the valves are open, Central Region Water Board-Ntchisi- Zone is still unable to provide water to all the households,” reads part of the report.
Reasons for the poor performance of the board include unreliable sources of water; inadequate investments; delays in responding to faults and consumer queries and deforestation that is resulting in destruction of the catchment area for the reservoir or source of water.
LWB is also regarded as highly water-stressed area with rationing to consumers.
“It is clear that areas like Area 25, Chilinde and Kawale had water for only two days a week on average while Areas 14, 32 have access to water for an average of six days at the time of data collection.
“Furthermore, it has to be known that the water is available only for few hours and mostly at night. This has an implication in maintaining sanitation of the people in these areas. This poses a threat to the outbreak of waterborne diseases like cholera. This situation may worsen if no proper strategies are put in place,” reads the report.
The assessment favours NRWB for having “the most reliable water supply that results in reliable access”.
NRWB according to the report has more focused projects that ensure continued water supply in the areas as compared to the other water boards. The board is also responsive to consumer queries and needs.
Adds the report: “NRWB is the most innovative with various new technologies that have been introduced which include but not limited to: pre-paid meter system and removal of service charge. The water users reported that they normally have dryouts when there are frequent blackouts,” reads the report.
Bokho also said some water boards fail to function effectively because of political interference and asked politicians to leave the water boards alone.
Among other recommendations, the network calls on water boards to be proactive in implementing projects in dire- stressed areas and areas that will face the challenge in few years to come.
Spokespersons for LWB and CRWB were not available for comments.
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