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Urban water utilities lack essential facilities - CAG

16th April 2012
Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Ludovick Utoh

Most audited urban water supply and sanitation authorities (UWSSAs) lack essential facilities like water meters, according to Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Ludovick Utoh.

This was discovered by the Performance and Forensic Audit (for the period ending 31 March, 2012) in Dodoma last week.

For three consecutive years covered in the audits, there were no significant improvements in the reduction of non-revenue water (NRW). “All UWSSAs have set the target of NRW below the Ministry of Water’s standards of 20 per cent,” he said.

Utouh noted that the government had delivered a broad range of water and sanitation services, which had affected the well-being of Tanzanians across the country.

He said the Ministry of Water, the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (Ewura) and the UWSSAs were responsible for the loss of water due to the fact that they were charged with delivering quality water services to the people they served.

“We examined the performance of the Ministry Water, Ewura and UWSSAs in controlling water losses and discovered that UWSSAs have not conducted proactive inspection on the performance of their entire water distribution networks,” said Utouh.

He said water supply in the country is beset with many problems, including low coverage, low services level ad intermittent water supply. The CAG said there had been frequent pipeline bursts and leakages which also affect the quantity of the water supplied.

Utouh said during the fiscal year 2008/09, total losses for all the UWSSAs were more than 44 per cent. “This means that almost half of the water produced was lost before reaching the customer or not billed,” said the CAG.

However, he said that they have also established that water leakages that occurred after working hours, during week ends and public holidays were not recorded. “The leak response time has not been recorded and in most incidences, it took more than 24 hours to repair the reported leaks,” he noted.

The report said although half of the audited UWSSAs had established toll free telephone lines to receive calls from customers on leaks, not all the lines had been working regularly.

CAG said most of the audited UWSSAs lacked adequate water measuring facilities like bulk meters and customer meters. “Thus they failed to know exactly where, how, and why water was lost and this made the computation and management of non-revenue water difficult,” noted Utouh.

The CAG said in the audit, three out of the eight UWSSAs were found to have low customer metering efficiency-less than 100 per cent metering. “This means, the amount of water billed to customers was based on estimates which are subject to errors and eventually commercial losses,” noted.

He blamed the UWSSAs for not implementing recommendations given to them by the Ewura regarding the reduction of NRW. CAG also said Ewura had not been making frequent visit follow ups to assess the extent to which its recommendations have been implemented by the UWSSAs.

The CAG concluded that the existing monitoring system for water distribution was not effective and inspections, repair of water networks were not adequately conducted. “The repair is not executed well as it takes 24 hours to repair the report leak,” he said.

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