Mmegi Online :: Plug the leaks
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Last Updated
Friday 25 May 2018, 14:11 pm.
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Plug the leaks

For many households, the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) is the very definition of ‘Evil Corp’, a predatory organisation that over bills consumers, strong-arms them into paying, while failing to supply the very product consumers require, on a sustainable basis.
By Mmegi Editor Fri 15 Dec 2017, 15:16 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Plug the leaks








WUC is quite unpopular particularly among urban consumers whose higher level of tariff subsidises rural consumers and who have no alternative supply other than the Corporation’s often shaky distribution.

A closer look at the WUC however reveals a formerly profitable and efficient parastatal, worn ragged by the addition of an almost unfair mandate and with insufficient support from its sole shareholder, government. The WUC troubles today hark back to the 2009 Water Sector Reform Programme under which the utility took over national water supply, with scant attention paid to complexities around the tariff differentials, costs of the expanded distribution, maintenance, staff complement and others.

Simply put, the WUC found itself expected to treat and supply water to a much higher number of consumers, spread across the country in various concentrations, with poor inherited distribution infrastructure and lower revenues due to the prevailing rock-bottom tariffs those consumers enjoyed.

From a period of surpluses, the WUC quickly fell into perennial losses, as operating expenses easily outstripped revenues, while government support was inadequate.

The WUC received its first subsidy from government in the 2015/16 financial, allowing it to post an ‘artificial’ profit of P119.4 million. The Annual Report made available this week shows that WUC went back to business as usual in the 2016/17 financial year, with a loss of P137.6 million. That year did not have the benefit of

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a government subsidy.

The WUC is battling to keep taps flowing, water quality high and even its own employees and suppliers paid regularly. It is therefore, not shocking to learn from its latest Annual Report, that the pitiable Corporation lost at least P530 million in potential revenues during the 2016/17 due to leakages in its system. At least 29 percent of the water treated by the WUC was lost in its crumbling distribution system countrywide via leaks, literally throwing hundreds of millions of pula in desperately needed revenues away. Authorities in the Annual Report are curiously upbeat however, as they quickly point out that the situation is an improvement from 33% in 2015/16. In fact, however, the situation is much worse at individual town and village level, where areas like Molepolole reportedly lose up to 50% of the water supplied due to leakages.

The WUC can plug these leaks through greater in-field efficiencies, redirection of capital towards overhaul of the distribution system and a stronger reporting mechanism akin to the one employed by its sister utility, the Botswana Power Corporation.

It is hoped such interventions, together with others around proper invoicing, debt control and enhanced operational efficiency, will not only increase the WUC revenue, but lessen the load on those carrying the heaviest tariffs, while increasing sustainable supply.

Today’s thought

“Every drops counts”

 

 - Water Utilities Corporation

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Editorial
Fri 15 Dec 2017, 15:16 pm
Thu 14 Dec 2017, 16:40 pm
Wed 13 Dec 2017, 16:29 pm
Tue 12 Dec 2017, 15:42 pm
Thu 07 Dec 2017, 13:37 pm
Wed 06 Dec 2017, 17:21 pm
Tue 05 Dec 2017, 13:12 pm
Fri 01 Dec 2017, 15:17 pm
Thu 30 Nov 2017, 17:37 pm
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 17:28 pm
Tue 28 Nov 2017, 16:18 pm
Fri 24 Nov 2017, 17:19 pm
Thu 23 Nov 2017, 14:30 pm
Wed 22 Nov 2017, 18:13 pm
Tue 21 Nov 2017, 16:39 pm
Thu 16 Nov 2017, 15:08 pm
Wed 15 Nov 2017, 19:06 pm
Tue 14 Nov 2017, 16:48 pm
Fri 10 Nov 2017, 15:20 pm
Wed 08 Nov 2017, 11:37 am
Tue 07 Nov 2017, 11:55 am
Fri 03 Nov 2017, 10:06 am
Thu 02 Nov 2017, 09:17 am
Wed 01 Nov 2017, 11:38 am
Tue 31 Oct 2017, 11:24 am
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Exchange Rates
FOREIGN EXCHANGE: Wednesday, 17 Jan 2018
FOREIGN / PULA
PULA / FOREIGN
1 USD = Pula   9.7656
1 GBP = Pula   13.4590
1 EUR = Pula   11.9617
1 YEN = Pula   0.0882
1 ZAR = Pula   0.7938
1 Pula = USD   0.1024
1 Pula = GBP   0.0743
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1 Pula = ZAR   1.2597
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