INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF PREPAID METERS ON COMMUNAL WATER POINTS IN MALAWI: A CASE STUDY OF LILONGWE PER-URBAN AREAS.
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Water is usually obtained from communal water points such as kiosks in Lilongwe's peri-urban areas. Increased indebtedness, which resulted in more waterpoints being disconnected, prompted the Lilongwe Water Board to implement a new prepaid metering system, known in Malawi as the E-Madzi system, in order to provide access to water 24 hours a day, seven days a week and increase revenue collection. The purpose of this study was to look at the impact of prepaid meters on communal water points in three communities: Kawale 1, Kawale 2, and Mchezi. The study's goals were to examine the impact of prepaid meters on water affordability, people's perceptions of the new system, the influence of prepaid meters on revenue collection, and the reliability of the prepaid metering system. A total of 111 households who uses prepaid metering systems were sampled, a questionnaire and focus group discussion were used to collect data. The findings revealed that 98.2 percent of the sampled households were pleased with the new system because it has made water more affordable and people can access water on a daily basis, while the remaining 1.8 percent were dissatisfied because it does not allow residents to draw water on credit because they must pay before use, and there is low pressure at the water point when the weather is cloudy. Finally, this study recommended that the Lilongwe Water Board should consider re-sizing the system in order to calculate the energy daily requirement which will ensure water access even during the cloudy days