Lilongwe Water Board angers customers with K8,500 sewage fee


Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has come under fire from its customers after introducing K8,500 fee as sewer service charge.

Customers have bashed the board for the fee, describing it as high and exploitative.

LWB together with Lilongwe City Council (LCC) is implementing Lilongwe Water and Sanitation Project (LWSP), a World Bank funded project focusing on implementation of sanitation improvements in Lilongwe City.

As part of the project, the two organisations conducted free sewer connection in some areas of Lilongwe such as Area 47 sector 3 and 4, Area 1 (Falls) and Area 49 Old and New Gulliver.

Houses connected to the sewer lines no longer use septic tanks to dispose sewage but the sewage is being carried away from homes by the LWB sewer lines.

Recently, LWB has been sending messages to customers telling them that the board has taken over sewer services management from LCC effective 1 October, 2023 and that customers will be charged for sewer services.

“Sewer service charges will be added to your bill from this 1 Nov. Residential customers’ fee is K8,500, while for Commercial and institutional Customers it’s 35% of the water bill,” reads part o the message.

The board has clarified that the fee only applies to customers connected to sewer lines. However, customers living in areas connected to sewer lines have complained that they are being charged the sewer fees even though their houses are not connected to the sewer lines.

“So Lilongwe Water Board has added a monthly sewer charge to the monthly bills, 8500 is a lot to be collecting from an individual.. It’s not as if you clean these pipes everyday, I for one been having dirty water the whole of this month..

“Times are hard already..revisit your charges this is too much in a year on top of my water bills I will be giving this corporation a 102000..kuba uku (this is theft) Lilongwe Water Board,” said one person on social media who added that his house is not connected to the LWB sewer line.

Commenting on LWB Facebook page, one Facebook user described the charge as daylight robbery.

“Our monthly water consumption is less the sewer services charges, the amount is way way higher. Manyi Ake omwewa kudulitsa chonchi? Muziyenda door to door kuzapopa or what?” she commented.

“How do you justify charging everyone the same fee when usage is different from house to house? My water bill barely even hits K7000,” another person said.

Posting on X, journalist Chachacha Munthali wrote: “On another day, in another context, I would describe this as bullshit, but since this is polite company I will resist that temptation.”

Many customers have also faulted the board for not raising awareness about the sewer line charge before introducing it.

LWB prepaid customers looking to buy tokens for prepaid water this month have been caught unawares as they are not being given valid tokens until they pay K8,500 for the sewer lines.

“I bought water worth K2000 yesterday but the token did not work. I have been told that I have to first pay K8,500 before I can be able to buy water,” one customer said.

Meanwhile, the board is yet to respond to the issues.