Blantyre Water Board (BWB) says it disconnected 270 illegal water connections in domestic and commercial entities from July to December 2016 when the board conducted meter validation exercise.
The board also fixed 2000 unaccounted for water connections in the six-month exercise.
Today the water supplier pounced on illegal water connections in Chirimba township and speaking after the exercise, BWB public relations officer Priscilla Mateyu said the board was losing K48 million every month in illegal connections.
Mateyu said the development was affecting the board negatively as revenue lost could have been used for other water supply projects.
“While BWB is a government institution, it is also a business, we need money to settle huge electricity costs of pumping water, fix pipes and tanks and engage in other projects to ensure continuous supply of water to our customers,” said Mateyu.
She advised the general public to be on the lookout and report all illegal connections adding that the water tapped illegally is not safe as the pipes used are mostly of poor standards.
Those involved in an illegal water connection if found are subject to a penalty of K20 000 according to the Water Works Act.
Aside from the penalty, they are also forced to pay all bills assumed to have been accumulated during the illegal connection period.
A tenant, who only identified herself as Mrs Chirombo, in Chirimba Township affected by today’s disconnection exercise expressed disappointment saying she was not aware the house she lives in had an illegal water connection.
“I have just been in this house for a month. The owner lives in South Africa and I got it through a caretaker called Yusuf. This is so embarrassing and I am planning to move out,” said the tenant adding that she cannot live in a self-contained house without water close by.
BWB’s director of distribution Bright Mziliwanda said it was a third time a case of illegal connection was reported at that plot.
“During the meter validation exercise it was discovered that the connection was illegal and we disconnected the houses but after inspection we found they had reconnected. This happens to be the third time we are disconnecting this plot, we will get to the root of this and take to task whoever is masterminding this,” said Mziliwanda adding that the water account number which the caretaker provided to the tenants is dubious.
BWB has over 1.3 million customers in Blantyre and surrounding areas. The board has also 20 thousand prospective customers on the waiting list.