Blantyre Water Board (BWB) is one of the most confused and confusing companies I have ever known.
For some inexplicable reasons, it always trips-up itself-dishing out things that make sense only to themselves not the intended recipients of their messages, in this case, consumers.
At the height of the water crisis following massive flooding in the Lower Shire, it resorted to goal post shifting-well I am trying to be diplomatic and not say that they kept on overstretching the truths to half-truths and, eventually, outright lies on when they would resume their idea of ‘normal’ water supply.
Later on, they could not lie anymore and just decided, wisely in my view, to merely shut up their mouths and wait-as Blantyre residents always do when it comes to BWB’s water supply fiascos-for divine intervention.
Wait, there is more. Do you remember when they were supposed to complete the infrastructure upgrade that should have ended water problems in the commercial city?
They have shifted deadlines countless times and now no one knows when they will complete it.
The constant shifting of deadlines makes one wonder whether this parasitic parastatal has managers that understand project baselines. It is gross, really.
They are exactly like those folks at the Reserve Bank of Malawi who are failing to complete their Northern Region headquarters in Mzuzu several years beyond the completion date.
They too have extended deadlines at least three times and spent a minimum four times the budgeted amount and counting.
But I digress.
This week, BWB have been at it again, with a media statement that is as close to mirth as you can get.
Reading it, you can’t help, but wonder why they even bothered to cobble out something as drab.
Read it below.
“Blantyre Water Board wishes to inform its valued customers in Blantyre and surrounding areas that there will be water supply interruption during Easter holidays due to the lowering of the pond at Nkula by Escom. The maintenance works will start on 2nd April 2015. During this time, Escom will be carrying out maintenance works at its station. Therefore, there will be intermittent water supply in all areas, as the Board will not be able to abstract adequate water from its intake pond. It is expected that normal water supply will be restored by Monday 6th April 2015. The board wishes to advise its valued customers to store enough water during this Easter period and use it sparingly. Blantyre Water Board regrets any inconveniences this shall cause.”
First, I do not believe that BWB regrets this inconvenience at all. How can they? They always have access to water whenever and wherever they want it.
Second, if this statement makes sense to anyone of you then you are very lucky people.
There are a lot of residential areas in Blantyre that have never seen a drop of water in more than three weeks.
So, when BWB says there will be a water supply “interruption”, what are they talking about? Which supply will they interrupt?
Will they be interrupting the interruption, in which case it means there will be temporary supply of water before the dry taps return, which is the norm? If that was the case why then issue a statement?
Is that what they mean when they say “normal” water supply-which in BWB’s dictionary means no water at all-will be restored on Monday?
To be honest, what has become of the de facto norm is for most Blantyre residents to live for days without water.
The abnormality is having the water. So, really, I am confused-which is which?
But then, the board’s slogan is ‘Water is Life, Conserve it’.
By failing to provide water to us, is it possible that the board wants to conserve it for some warped future use?
What is even more amazing is that these folks do not even want to improve the situation. They got billions from the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.
They can’t even spend enough of that money, with everything boggled into murky procurement processes and outright inertia. When, I ask, will this water board ever get it right?