The government is supporting the kiosk installment through its implementation of the World Bank-financed Lilongwe Water and Sanitation Project. Soon, what started as a pilot program with four kiosks in 2019, will increase to 35 additional kiosks around Lilongwe. Additional funds for the scale up came from the recently-approved COVID-19 response package financed by the Bank.
In addition to the kiosks, the package includes installation of public handwashing facilities in public places across the city led by Lilongwe City Council, training and awareness campaigns on handwashing, and protective equipment for LWB frontline staff.
“The E-Madzi kiosks have simplified the way we manage water kiosks, especially, that we do not need an employee of the water board to be available to sell water and receive cash while ensuring water is available all the time,” said John Maweja, a Lilongwe Water Board kiosk technician.
The E-Madzi system
The E-Madzi system is comprised of three main elements – a smartcard, a dispenser unit and a water management system. The system is installed at a kiosk and is operated through an electronic water management device. The card uses Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to allow users to draw water by tapping on the dispenser unit.
Consumers with a prepaid smartcard only tap the water dispenser, and credit is deducted from the smartcard balance to the exact amount of water collected. The technology helps to reduce water wastage due to spillage and non- revenue water. The Water Management System Server captures all the reports from remote kiosks to enable LWB system administrators to remotely monitor the performance and water usage of the kiosk through an easy to use web-based dashboard.
“This system is a very useful platform to ensures continuity of water supply services to some of the most vulnerable communities in Lilongwe, at times when water is most needed,” said Odete Muximpua, World Bank task team leader of the LWSP. “The system minimizes human contact, thus reducing the risk of contamination from taps during opening and closing, and cash payment transactions at the kiosk.”
The cashless system further improves the collection efficiency by the water service provider. The supply and installation work for the system costs approximately $41,500.
“This system is easy to use and suitable for installation in congested and COVID-19 risk areas like schools, hospitals, bus stations or community meeting places,” said Muximpua. “Congested areas need to have services with reduced contact to minimize the risk of transferring the coronavirus.”