Dedza North-West Member of Parliament, Alekeni Menyani, has told top management of Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) that he does not drink water supplied by the board, saying he does not feel safe to take the water.
Menyani told LWB Chief Executive Offcier, Alfonso Chikuni, and his top management when they appeared before a joint parliamentary committee of Public Accounts (Pac), Agriculture, Irrigation and Water and Budget.
“I always go out and buy water for my family and myself. I am not comfortable with the quality of your water after I heard that you recycle sewage water,” Menyani said.
However, Chikuni said the water is safe for drinking.
He added that the board is likely to increase its customer base from the current 70,000 after the $435 million mega water project, the Lake Malawi Water Project, which is expected to take off in April 2018.
“The World Bank wants to upgrade distribution networks and expansions,” said Chikuni who said the current distribution network was installed in 1947.
He said the tobacco industry at Kanengo consumes 20 percent of the water, pumping in $1.5 million every month and 10 percent of the water goes to the Malawi Defence Force which he says is struggling to pay a staggering K1.5 billion water bill consumed from July 2016 to June 2017.
Chikuni also told the parliamentarians during the four-hour marathon meeting that LWB water tariffs are the lowest in the country, with an average of 86 cents per cubic metre while Northern Region Water Board charges $1.3 per cubic metre and Blantyre Water Board is the highest with the $1.76 per cubic metre.
He told the attentive legislators that the differences could be because Blantyre Water Board pays Escom a whopping K600 million to get water from its pumping station, Walkers Ferry and Chileka while LWB pays K200 million for power to pump water from its Diamphwe Dam.
Menyani said, after listening to the LWB management, he was impressed with the initiatives and activities undertaken by the board, describing them as innovative.
He then asked the board to improve on communication.
“Pull up on your communication strategies. Your communication system is very poor. You recently won awards on innovations but we hardly heard of it,” Menyani said.
LWB Public Relations Officer, Bright Sonani, remains suspended after he was accused of leaking information that the board dished out K10 million each to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and State spies, the National Intelligence Bureau, allegations Sonani denies.