Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) loses in excess of K4 billion in non-revenue water annually due to illegal connections, officials have confirmed.
If LWB was able to collect the K4 billion, it would make huge profits to enable it rehabilitate and revamp a huge chunk of its old piping system and connect more customers.
BWB chief executive officer Alfonso Chikuni and director of finance Silli Mbewe said the loss is huge and there is need for Lilongwe residents to be proactive and inform the board if they suspect any illegal connections.
Said Chikuni: “The loss could have helped us revamp our old piping system which is about 2 000 kilometres. We are trying our best to deal with the problem, but without the support of the residents we will still be facing challenges.
“Our calculations show that 50 percent of water is lost through water waste and when calculated, it is about K2 billion while between K1.2 billion and K2 billion is lost through theft.”
On his part, Mbewe said non-revenue water has two aspects which are physical and commercial losses.
“As a board, we are putting in place several initiatives such as house to house survey helped by the Centre for Social Research and tip-off anonymous platform. We are also working with other security agents to help us get to the bottom of illegal connections,” he said.
The country’s water boards fall under the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.
In an interview, minister responsible Joseph Mwanamvekha commended the board for the efforts it is making to curb illegal connection, but disclosed that all the water boards have been given targets to work on and reduce inefficiencies.
He said all the boards are encountering the problem of non-revenue water and they have been ordered to work on installing pre-paid meters because that is how they can deal with illegal connections.
“We are closely monitoring the performances of the water boards because we need them to be able to deal with the problems on non-revenue water. They are also supposed to produce quality water that conforms to standards,” said Mwanamvekha.
He said through Water Services Association of Malawi (Wasam), which is a governing member association to the International Water Association, they are enforcing standards in the water sector to enhance efficiency.
According to the Malawi Government Annual Economic Report 2017, LWB made a profit of K4 billion. n