Malawi and Japan recently signed a grant aid agreement of US $3.4m for the improvement of water supply and revenue generation in Lilongwe through reduction of water loss. The grant aid will finance a project for the improvement of equipment for non-revenue water reduction to be implemented by Lilongwe Water Board (LWB).
Japanese ambassador to Malawi, Kae Yanagisawa and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe signed the agreement on behalf of both governments at a ceremony at Capital Hill in Lilongwe.
According to Yanagisawa, it is a fact that there is wastage of water both in physical and monetary terms in the process of delivery to end users with Lilongwe having one of the highest rates.
“Non-revenue water rate in Lilongwe currently stands at 36% due to physical loss, unauthorized consumption through illegal connections and inaccurate meter reading,” Yanagisawa said.
Furthermore, such a loss in unrecovered revenue negatively affects Lilongwe Water Board and hinders direction of that amount of water productive purposes. The grant will facilitate the purchase of equipment necessary for detecting and measuring non-revenue water losses. The equipment will include water leakage detectors, machinery for installing water pipes and mobile water meter inspection equipment.
But the Japanese ambassador was quick to point out that the equipment will not seek quick solutions but rather improve physical monitoring of underground pipes and detection of pipes.
Finance Minister, Gondwe, commended the Japanese Government for providing the grant, saying it will help in addressing major challenges LWB is facing. “Procurement and installation of the equipment will improve the revenue generation for LWB,” Gondwe said.
However, Gondwe said the water distribution system would require a major overhaul for quick detection of underground leakage which is incurring huge losses on LWB. Currently, LWB is losing about US $5.5m a year from non-revenue water, according to the water utility body’s chief executive Alfonso Chikuni.
The new equipment will improve coverage of water supply in the city from about 73% to 95%. Current, supply of water reaches to about 800, 000 people out of the total population of 1.1 million in the city.