Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has cut its services to six roundabouts, including its main cemetery in Area 18B, due to unpaid water bills that have accumulated to K101 million.
A Weekend Nation visit to the premises has established that the city’s roundabouts are running dry due to accumulation of unsettled water bills by Lilongwe City Council (LCC).
LCC director of parks and recreation Allan Kwanjana confirmed that six of Lilongwe City’s nine roundabouts are running on dry taps, but dismissed the K101 million figure.
“It is due to funding problems. But the unsettled bill that we know of is K11.4 million,” he said.
Kwanjana said the council is negotiating with LWB to get reconnected as LCC mobilises resources to settle the bills.
“We are going to pay the bill and Lilongwe will soon regain its colourful look,” he said.
LWB public relations officer Bright Sonani could not be drawn to comment on the amount it is owed by LCC, but said when it comes to unpaid bills, they treat each customer the same.
“Our policy on disconnections is to disconnect our water supply whenever a customer has an overdue bill,” said Sonani.
One of the workers at the cemetery, who opted to speak on condition of anonymity, described the situation as pathetic.
“As undertakers, we are mandated to wash ourselves after burying the dead, but we are failing to do so because this place has gone for months now without water.
“We plead with the council to resolve the issue quickly; otherwise, our lives are in danger,” he said.
This news comes barely a week after our sister paper The Nation reported that councillors in Lilongwe have reported to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) some directors and senior members at LCC for obtaining allowances that they did not work for.
LCC collects an average of K130 million monthly in city rates, but Lilongwe residents have been complaining that they feel cheated as to where the money goes as, at times, the council fails to keep routine services running such as timely collection of refuse, keeping the street lights functional and keeping the city clean.