The National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) is concerned with the status of water supply and sanitation services in western province particularly in Mongu and Mwandi districts.
NWASCO has since instructed Western Water and Sewerage Company to immediately correct the situation and ensure that stalled projects earmarked for water improvement are completed.
NWASCO Public Relations and Communications Manager Rose Tembo said the water utility has also been directed to comply with the approved tariff for new connections and standardize format for complaints register to include resolution dates and complaints numbers among other instructions.
Ms Tembo said NWASCO just concluded a detailed inspection of western province to monitor compliance to licence conditions, Service Level guarantees as well as application of the tariff in a bid to protect customers.
She said the inspections undertaken from 16th to 21st August 2015 revealed that since January 2015, there has been a significant drop in hours of supply in Mwandi from 24 hours to 9 hours per day after a newly constructed overhead tank with a capacity of 441 cubic meters erupted.
Ms. Tembo said the drop in hours of supply has forced residents to use alternative water sources which do not guarantee the quality thereby posing a risk to public health.
The tank which was commissioned towards the end of 2013 was supplied by Savannah and erected by Best Brand which was a sub – contractor of African Brothers Corporation.
“It is alleged that the failure of the tank was due to the snapping of long holding bolts on top along the welds. The erupted tank caused damage to the western water and sewerage company office block which was constructed right next to it,” Mrs Tembo noted.
“This is the third tank that has collapsed after the two tanks collapsed in Luapula province last year. NWASCO regrets the continued collapse of newly constructed tanks and has called for comprehensive supervision of projects by Water Utilities.”
Meanwhile, a number of collapsed boreholes in Mongu have impacted on water supply with some areas like St Johns receiving only 2 hours per day.
Ms Tembo said customers have requested for a surface water source which would be more reliable than ground water.
She however said the Mandaga Project in Mongu funded by the Devolution Trust Fund (DTF) earmarked for the improvement of water supply has been completed.
“The Project worth K1.7 Million kwacha was completed in May 2015 and awaits certification of works before commissioning. Delayed completion of projects in various districts has denied consumers to access clean water,” she said.
“Further, power outages and low voltage in the province ranging from 5 to 8 hours per day have adversely affected water supply. Western Water and Sewerage Company is the 9th water utility to be inspected this year. Lusaka and North-western water and sewerage companies will be inspected next month to ascertain compliance to guidelines and standards.”