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Vandalism leaves Mpingwe residents without potable water

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People of the populous side of Mpingwe Township in Blantyre are now suffering the consequences of water pipes vandalism after Blantyre Water Board (BWB) stopped the maintenance of its frequently vandalised property in the area.

Some people in the area have been vandalising and stealing BWB pipes including the main pipe to the area and, in reaction, the board halted its operations in the areas.

The development has left over 15 kiosks dry for months forcing residents to go back to unreliable boreholes and other unclean sources.

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During an interface with community leaders and water users in the area on Friday, BWB Kiosk Manager, Francis Baluwa, said the board will only go back to the area to maintain the vandalised property after getting security assurances from the community.

“For example, in January this year, we sent plumbers into this area and they maintained every pipe you can think of in this area but just after a week the pipes were vandalised again. People in this area have been forcing us to do the same job over and over again which is costly and looking at the economy we cannot continue doing the same thing for the same people all the time. We need to be assured of security for our property in this area before we can start the maintenance work. Otherwise, we are still hesitant,” Baluwa said.

He, however, said it is the hope of BWB that the community will quickly come up with measures that will ensure security of the pipes.

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A member of Bangwe- Mpingwe Water Users Association (Wua), Cedric Najombe, said people in the area are suffering due to the board’s decision not to maintain the pipes and residents in the area are trying to come up with ways of tightening security.

He said Wua has been doing sensitisation meetings to ensure that people in the area own the property and appreciate the importance of protecting the pipes.

“We are also meeting next week to come up with measures that will be used to deal with this problem so that we can have access to clean water in our houses again.” Majombe said.

Out of 45 Kiosks in Bangwe-Mpingwe Wua, about 15 Kiosks on Mpingwe side are completely dry.

Water for People Projects Manager for Blantyre, Joseph Magoya, said the interface meeting which Water for People and Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) convened as part of their three-year Tilitonse Fund access to safe water project was meant to come up with solution to the problem.

“We have a number of kiosks in this area but most of them are not functioning and coming from the discussion are the issues of community participation. People in this area are vandalising Water Board property and we thought of bringing the two sides together to map the way forward,” Magoya said.

The meeting agreed to form a task force to see how water supply can be restored.

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