Residents of Manase and Nancholi townships in Blantyre have asked Blantyre Water Board (BWB) to lower water rates in their areas.
Speaking in random interviews, the residents said the current rates are forcing them to use water from unprotected sources.
Caroline Mwase, 35, from Nancholi, said she spends about K500 on tap water for laundry.
She also asked authorities to construct more kiosks.
“When I find many people at a kiosk, I am forced to buy water from private homes at high prices,”said Mwase.
Modester Samikwa, 40, said she does her laundry at streams to avoid spending more on tap water.
“But clean water is safe, especially this time of Covid-19,” she said.
However, BWB spokesperson Catherine Khonje said the board has not increased water tariffs for a number of years.
She said: “Therefore, no consumer can complain of high tariffs. We have installed communal water points through Water Users Associations where water is cheap.
“We do not expect urban dwellers to drink unsafe water unless they are financially challenged to buy water from a kiosk.”
Khonje said BWB strives to maintain low rates in water kiosks to enable low-income customers to buy water at affordable rates.
She said the recommended price of water for a 20-litre bucket is K25 and a 40-litre container is K50.
BWB kiosk manager Brave Mkwezalamba admitted that there is shortfall of water kiosks in Manase and Nancholi townships due to population increase.
Manase, Nancholi and Manyowe are in Mudi Water Users Association Catchment Area which has 65 water kiosks constructed in 2012. Out of these, 11 are non-functional.