Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has embarked on an electronic water selling points initiative known as eMadzi.
It is an initiative that will see some of the consumers in the low-income areas (LIAs) who are supplied with water through kiosks using pre-paid cards to get their water while at the same time having 24-hour access to the kiosks.
LWB publicist Bright Sonani said the option came after other six options had failed to address prevalent challenges since 2005.
Said Sonani. “Of the three options the Water Users Association (WUA) model is the most preferred option, but because of some limitations it is only being employed in 64 percent of the public water points.
“However, for some time it has been observed that although the kiosks provide an opportunity for the LIAs to have access to potable water, the system has its own challenges that made it difficult to implement.”
Sonani said the challenges include the struggles to ensure that the water is affordable to the consumers from the LIAs, especially in areas where third parties or intermediaries are used to sale the water to consumers as these would also want to cover their operating cost.
“The major advantages of the eMadzi is that consumers who use kiosks will have a 24-hour access to water just like any other consumer.
“Currently water kiosks generally open at 5am and close at 10am and reopen at 2pm and close at 6pm,” said Sonani.
The eMadzi takes the form of an ATM whereby community members are provided with cards that will serve as an ID and they will use their phone account to load credit onto the card.
Mobile Network Providers’ platform will be used to enable the communities use the eMadzi facility. n