Thursday, March 24, 2011

Prioritise payment of water bills, says Muteteka

Prioritise payment of water bills, says Muteteka
By Mwila Chansa in Kitwe
Thu 24 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT

LOCAL government deputy minister Moses Muteteka (above) has urged Zambians not to neglect paying for water because the commodity is a basic need for a good and healthy life.

And Nkana Water and Sewerage Company board chairperson William Nyirenda cited illegal connections, high customer arrears and pollution of raw water sources as some of the challenges his firm was facing in their quest to provide water and sewerage services to the public.

Commemorating the World Water Day in Kitwe’s Mulenga compound on Tuesday, Muteteka observed that the tendency by some people not to pay their water bills was more of an act of neglect rather than lack of capacity to pay because water bills were a mere token fee compared to other services.

“It is amazing that some people spend money on mobile phone airtime, pay television networks and drink beer daily but neglect to pay for water which is a basic need for a good and healthy life,” Muteteka said.

He said people needed to support water utility firms if they were to adequately serve the public.

“These utility companies need huge sums of money for rehabilitating and constructing water supply and sanitation facilities and for operation and maintenance,” Muteteka said.

“They also need to pay other service providers such as Zesco for electricity used for pumping water and other companies for chemicals used for treating water and sewerage.”

He said provision of safe and clean water was therefore not free as some people would want to make the public believe.

Muteteka also said the government was concerned about the poor state of sanitation facilities in Kitwe’s Wusakile township and that K4 billion had already been spent on rehabilitating and constructing new facilities in the same township.

And Nyirenda said dilapidated infrastructure, low metering coverage, overstretched water treatment facilities, overloaded sewer system, vandalism of infrastructure installations and mushrooming of unplanned settlements were great challenges for the water utility’s quest to provide water and sewerage services to its customers.

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