Chiradzulu — Public servants and residents surrounding Chiradzulu boma have accused Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) for lack of commitment to end water woes that the residents experience during summer season every year.
This was revealed during a stakeholders meeting on water crisis which Chiradzulu District Commissioner, Andrew Misomali convened aimed at looking at alternatives of solving the problem which has been there since early 1970s.
Chiradzulu Boma, which lies at the foot of Chiradzulu Mountain, gets its water supply from SRWB and has an estimated population of over 5000 people.
“What we have established is that there is lack of commitment on the part of SRWB to end the problem. The council has held series of high level meetings with SRWB officials on the matter, but the problem is getting from bad to worse,” observed Steven Mkhathiwa, an official from the district council.
He said during summer season, taps at the Boma run dry for a month or so, but the Board still charges exorbitant water tariffs.
An Official from SRWB in the district, Hamswell Gangata admitted that water problem at Chiradzulu boma has been a long standing issue which his organization is aware of and is trying to find long lasting solution to.
“Our intake gets dry during summer season because the water source is only reliable during rainy season. The problem has been compounded by wanton cutting down of trees in Chiradzulu Mountain,” said Gangata whose organization planted trees in the mountain during this year’s tree planting season.
Meanwhile, members at the meeting suggested that Chiradzulu Boma should be getting water supply from Blantyre Water Board (BWB) until rainy season as a short term measure. During rainy season water supply to the district is consistent.
Three years ago, Chiradzulu district Hospital with the help of former minister of Health, Khumbo Kachari reached an agreement with SRWB to allow BWB start supplying water to the hospital, a move which improved water situation at the health facility.
District Environmental Officer, Chifuniro Mbozi argued that the failure of SRWB to provide water at the Boma infringes the rights of the people to clean environment which encompasses access to safe water.
“Residents here use flash toilets. They do not have pit latrines. And shortage of water further compromises sanitation,” said Mbozi.
Recently, Chiradzulu District Council dug pit latrines at the premises of DC’s offices to act as back up toilets during summer season.
District Commissioner, Andrew Misomali said the council will call for urgent meeting which will involve officials from ministry of water, SRWB, BWB and NGOs to see whether BWB can take over form SRWB for the time being.
“Before we give SRWB ultimatum to solve the problem, we need to come to a round table with senior officials from government and the [water] Boards to map the way forward.
Water is life; we can’t go on like this. If water supply is erratic now [July] we should expect disaster in the subsequent months,” said Misomali.
Last year, residents planned to hold demonstrations against SRWB, but the move was stopped by the then District Commissioner, Bennet Nkasala opting for continual discussions with concerned parties.
Source Article from http://allafrica.com/stories/201307130097.html
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