LWSC malfunctioning pre- paid meters come under fire

THE newly installed prepaid water meters by the Lusaka water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) are reported to be malfunctioning and forcing consumers to pay more money for water.

Some Kafue residents complained that in some cases the system was not cutting off supply at the end of the units, but instead continued to bill the user for the extra water used.

Moses Mumba explained that he was surprised to be surcharged for extra water used on a bill he was unaware of.

“We thought it would be working like the ZESCO pre-paid system which cuts off supply once the units are finished, but instead the water continues to flow without any indication that the units are finished.

“And when buying fresh units, you are just informed that you have to clear your over-charge before the new purchase,” he said.

He explained that many people have complained about the anomaly with the pre-paid water service which was using post-paid system.

He explained that since the introduction of the new system, many consumers have been made to pay accumulated charges accrued because the supply was not withdrawn after the units finished.

They have since appealed to the water utility company to improve the system to allow for better services.

And LWSC has announced that there will be systematic rationing of water supply throughout the dry season due to the high demand that has resulted in low pressure affecting many residential areas.

LWSC marketing and public relations manager Topsy Sikalinda said in order to moderate the impact of the dry season, residents should adopt water wise strategy that helped reduce usage of the commodity by avoiding watering gardens and lawns during daytime.

“To help moderate the impact of the dry season on water supply, residents are advised to be water wise by watering gardens, lawns and flowers in the evening, using a cupful of water when brushing their teeth, using a dish to wash vegetables and not running water and using buckets to wash cars, not a hose pipe,” he said.

He said water levels at the company’s 130 commercial boreholes have drastically gone down causing reduced production of daily water quantities extracted from the facilities slightly below 258 million litres per day.

He said instead of the usual 370milion litres per day, demand had gone up to over 400 million litres required for the day.

He explained that all this was due to demand associated with the dry season such as households watering their gardens continuously, domestic activities such as feeling up swimming pools, the increase in the number of personal baths taken on a daily basis and general water wastage.

And Mr Sikalinda has said the encroachments and other land developments by residents on areas near boreholes have also contributed to the limited amounts of water going underground during the rainy season, and that disturbed the natural water table.

“We further wish to inform the city that there will systematic rationing of water supply throughout the dry season in most parts of Lusaka and rationing schedules are available in our various customer service centres,” said Mr Sikalinda

There have been increased water shortages around Lusaka with some areas going dry up to four days without a drop of the commodity.