Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) is losing around five percent of the water it produces to illegal connections across the city, equalling K 854 million in the revenue loss, officials have confirmed.
Meanwhile, the government, Japan International Cooperation (JICA) and the Board have bemoaned the continued tendency by some unscrupulous customers who connect the water supply to their homes illegally.
Speaking during the third Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) online meeting in Lilongwe, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources, Dr. Henrie Njoloma hailed JICA and LWB for implementing a 4-year project aimed at strengthening the capacity of Non-Revenue Water Reduction for the Lilongwe Water Board.
"It is a common knowledge that non-revenue water remains a big challenge for Lilongwe Water Board and the rest of the other Water Boards in Malawi. Currently, LWB is estimating to be losing 40% of its production volume annually.
"Unfortunately, apart from losses through pipe bursts arising from aged pipes, some of the water is being lost through illegal connections by the very same customers the Board is striving to serve," explained Njoloma.
He has since implored upon all Lilongwe residents to assist the Board curb the malpractice, by reporting any incident of water theft to LWB through their toll-free line, 253.
JICA's Senior Representative, Sakonju Naoto said they are committed to assist LWB curb water theft and reduce Non-Revenue water losses.
"The importance of non-revenue water reduction cannot be overemphasized. The 15th edition of the World Economic Forum ranked water crisis as one of the risks in its 2020 assessment of global risks, considering potential to cause damaging economic and social impacts across entire world," said Naoto.
Naoto said water is life which has to be guarded jealously to make sure its fully utilized, and called upon all Lilongwe residents to join hands in reducing both physical and commercial water losses through the reduction of Non-Revenue Water in the city.
LWB and JICA are currently implementing a Project for the Strengthening the Capacity of Non-Revenue Water Reduction for Lilongwe Water Board (LiSCaP) to enhancing capacity for non-revenue water reduction management for the Board, and ultimately reduce non-revenue water as well as improving efficiency of water-use in the city of Lilongwe.
To achieve this, the project is expected to enhance LWB's planning and implementing capacity for non-revenue water reduction and disseminate knowledge and skills on non-revenue water reduction within and outside the Board.
LWB Chief Executive Officer, Godfrey Itaye has since hailed the project, saying it will help the Board to reduce non-revenue water losses.
"This is a very important project to Lilongwe Water Board as you know currently statistically, we are losing about 40 percent of water we produce. The project will help us reduce such water losses," he said.
The third JCC meeting was organized to discuss and share the outcome and progress of the conducted activities under the project since it started. According to the project, Non-Revenue Water in the project's pilot area has been reduced from 22 percent to 11 percent.
Considering the impact of Covid-19 on the project's activities as well as overall LWB's operations, addition to the activities in the Project, the LiSCaP project will also provide support to the LWB to countermeasure the pandemic.
Some of the items under the Covid-19 assistance include chemicals for water treatment, Re-Chlorination equipment and many more.