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Dar water supply woes: Officials way off mark

18th January 2012
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Editorial cartoon

One wonders why so many corporate visions and missions are so ambitious and flamboyantly phrased as to be easily dismissed as overly deceptive? Put differently, why are so many public service providers so fond of giving their customers or clients promises of luxury tours to far-off pleasure spots impossible to reach?

Well, this may be an exaggeration, but it is indeed sad that one should promise what one is clearly without the capacity to deliver. It points to lack of seriousness, and it is the very antithesis of integrity, accountability and good governance.

For instance, authorities at the Kinondoni District Council in Dar es Salaam are reported to have ordered that tap water to homes in the city’s Wazo Hill suburb be cut apparently because most residents of the area are connected to the supply network without following proper procedures – that is, illegally.

According to the reports, the office of the district’s chief water engineer is reliably informed that “very few” houses in the area in question are legally connected to the Dawasco (Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation) tap water network.

The office has also reliably learnt, or so the story goes, that some unscrupulous people have been secretly connecting water to the wrong residences and business premises at a cost – which is just as illegal and criminal as it amounts to stealing the precious liquid.

Now, let’s put the record straight. True, illegal water connections are the order of the day in Wazo Ward, and things are so bad that it is mainly those who have not registered with Dawasco that enjoy the service while taps at bona fide Dawasco customers endlessly spew dust and air.

But it is also true that the ugly situation is well known to Dawasco and government authorities, as it has prevailed for years on end.

Dawasco customers and other law-abiding citizens have raised concern over the matter on countless occasions, but to no avail. Strangely, despite instructions from none other than President Jakaya Kikwete that the corporate exercise utmost care, accuracy and fairness in billing customers, cases of wrongful billing and over-invoicing remain notoriously frequent.

There is also the issue of water supply lines bypassing thirsty homes able, ready and willing to pay for the service even well in advance and instead serving residences, business premises and other areas long distances away from the source, be it the main pipes at Ruvu Pumping Station or giant reservoirs such as the one at Wazo Hill.

Considering that there is no life without water, it would only be fair and logical to do the most to ensure that there is no discrimination in the way distribution of the item is made.

In a word, even if the Kinondoni District authorities indeed disconnect a few water supply lines, they will only have scratched the surface as the iceberg is bigger than many think and some of the “unscrupulous” people blamed for the mess are Dawasco insiders!

Dawasco’s mission reads: “To provide affordable and quality water supply and sewerage services on sustainable basis and in environmentally friendly manner at all times.” Fact: The mission remains all but an empty slogan, sadly.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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