Water in Zambian prisons cut-off

THE Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company yesterday disconnected water supply to all prisons in Central province to recover more than K200million (US$38000) owed in water bills, placing prisoners lives in jeopardy.

The Times of Zambia reports that the disconnection caught the Zambia Prison Service by surprise. Prison officers were yesterday frantically trying to negotiate with the water utility company to reconnect water to prison facilities, most of which are overcrowded with prisoners.

This means that there would be no water supply to Mkushi, Serenje, Mumbwa State prisons. In Kabwe, Mpima, Kalonga, Mukobeko Medium, and Maximum Security Prisons are affected. Some of the prison townships are also affected. Commissioner of Prisons Percy Chato when contacted by The Times could not confirm or deny the report.

LWSC public relations manager Fred Lutangu said the disconnection was aimed at recovering money so that the water utility firm could improve services. Mr Lutangu explained that the amount has accumulated over the past three years. He said the disconnection was not meant to punish the service but was aimed at ensuring the organisation committed itself to clearing the huge bills (more than US$38000). Mr Lutangu urged other organisations owing to start paying before the company disconnects supply.

By law, water service provision in Zambia is the responsibility of local authorities. However, most of them have formed regional commercial utilities to which they delegate service provision. Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company was established under the Water Supply and Sanitation Act No. 28 of 1997. The Company was incorporated as a private company limited by shares on 21 March, 2006 and became operational on 1 February, 2007.

The Company is owned by the six local authorities in Central Province, namely, Kabwe Municipal Council, Chibombo, Kapiri-Mposhi, Mkushi, Mumbwa and Serenje District Councils.


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