Some parts of Lilongwe City have gone three days without a drop of water after scheduled rehabilitation works disrupted supply longer than planned.
Water utility provider Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has since apologised to the city residents for the disruption.
The planned rehabilitation was expected to take place on Thursday but from Friday until Sunday, supply was not restored to areas such as Area 25, Area 47, Kanengo Industrial Site and residents went to queue at the board’s head office, Madzi House, in Area 3 to access water.
After 36 hours of dry taps, some high-profile residents, including member of Parliament (MP) for Dedza East Juliana Lunguzi (Malawi Congress Party-MCP),
took it upon themselves to find out what was happening when the board remained silent to the plight of the people.
Some angry residents took to social media for lack of information on the extended problems.
“Lilongwe Water Board tiyankhuleni [talk to us]. Day two, no drop of water. Tiyankhuleni abwana. Water bowser iyendetu [bring out the water bowser]. We need water in our taps,” Lilongwe resident Emily Banda said.
In an interview yesterday, LWB public relations officer Bright Sonani said the board had made preparations for the planned rehabilitation, but an adjacent high pressure main pipe moved during the exercise.
He said: “Normally, when we have such planned rehabilitation, we fill up all the strategic tanks so that customers are not affected. But as we were completing that job, we had an unexpected hiccup which affected the northern and central zones, but service has resumed.”
However, by midday yesterday, some areas in the city had gone three days without water and the board attributed the development to slow uptake following the complete shutdown on Friday.
“We have started normal operations, but unlike electricity, water supply takes longer to resume. We really apologise for the inconvenience caused to our customers and not informing them of the challenges we came across,” Sonani said.
On Saturday, the board managed to fabricate joints for old castings which required fitting or importing.
“We will place quick hardening concrete to cushion the water pressure. Pumping may be resumed later this afternoon,” the board said in a statement released Saturday afternoon.
LWB has been carrying out installations on its new treatment plant.
In recent years, the country’s water boards, notably LWB and Blantyre Water Board (BWB), have been experiencing supply and distribution challenges largely owing to old equipment and rising demand. The boards have been replacing old fittings with new ones in expansion drives to improve the situation.
BWB experienced one of its worst nightmares last year, but the situation has improved now following completion of projects.