Mixed reactions over plans to have prepaid water supply in Malawi

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Amid denunciations and counter accusations between water suppliers and clients on poor delivery service and wastefulness, respectively, the Blantyre Water Board has announced that it is rolling out a Pre-paid system project.

The project will however first be on trial, according to officials at the heavily criticized water board.  An official has disclosed that the pilot projects commences next month with 300 clients in the townships of New Naperi and Mudi.

After sampling the pros and cons of the new system and map the way forward but while welcoming the development a customer in Mudi  cautioned the water supplier to make sure that the meters are properly regulated and that not abused.

“Lets wait and see, but who is checking the Board for abuse of the system? We do not want to have a scenario where by we end up paying more than what we used to just because someone at the Board has played around with the meters,” pointed out Asante Banda.

Banda noted that if there will be no exploitation with the new system then it gives a chance to users to use according to their means.

“People will be able to plan, budget and control their so long there will be no errors that could be ending up in punishing innocent customers,” observed another customer in Naperi.

Blantyre Water Board says after the three months trial period it will be in a position to make it out whether the new system is sustainable, otherwise the Board views the system as worthwhile, and that it will enhance revenue collection since there will be no non-payment of consumed water as people will be using what they have paid for.

The current system provides that water is consumed before a payment is made and while the water user can chose when to pay for his or her bill the Water Board is also at liberty to disconnect the supply anytime.

The development has however sent some shivers to Blantyre Water Board employee as some think that their jobs are at the verge of collapsing as noted by one meter reader.

“We were employed to be recording water usage and distributing water bills. With this development, there is no need to go for meter reading as there will be no bill distribution, so we are indeed wary of what would become of us,” said a concerned member of staff who did not want to be identified in the media.

Blantyre Water Board was established and reconstituted under the Malawi Water Works Act No. 17 of 1995 to supply potable water for commercial, industrial, institutional and domestic use in the supply area of Blantyre City and surrounding areas. Currently there are over 40,000 customers.

The board extracts its water from the Shire River, an outlet of Lake Malawi, at Walker’s Ferry about 40 kilometres away from Blantyre City where a production of 78,000,000 litres is achieved with additional daily quantity of 8,000,000 litres yielded at Mudi Treatment.

Blantyre Water Board is guided by its mission of; providing reliable and affordable water supply services to customers whilst effectively contributing to the development of the national economy and sustenance of the environment.

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