- Commenced on 1 March 1996
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 2014.]
- [Note: This version of the Act was revised and consolidated in the Fifth Revised Edition of the Laws of Malawi (L.R.O. 1/2018), by the Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice under the authority of the Revision of the Laws Act.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Waterworks Act.
2. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—"Board" means a Water Board specified in the Schedule;"domestic purposes" includes every kind of ordinary household purpose, but does not include the use of any engine or machine, any mining operations, the flushing of any sewer or drain, purposes connected with any trade, manufacture or business, the cleansing of any road, path or pavement, or garden purposes;"fathering ground" means any natural or artificial surface which collects the rainfall or which contains any spring, well or stream from which water is or is intended to be drawn for the purpose of a waterworks;"main" means any pipe laid by the Board for the purpose of providing either a general supply of water as distinct from a supply to individual consumers or a general conveyance of sewerage as distinct from the conveyance of sewerage from individual connexions and includes any apparatus used in connexion with such a pipe;"member" means a member of the Board appointed pursuant to section 5, and includes the Chairman of the Board;"meter" means any appliance used to measure or ascertain the amount of water taken or used from the waterworks by means of any service;"occupier" in relation to premises, means any person lawfully occupying such premises;"premises" includes any land, with or without buildings, and any building, room, hut or shed which is held or occupied as a distinct or separate holding or tenancy;"public fountain" includes any fountain, standpipe, valve, tap or appliance used or intended to be used for, or in connexion with, the supply of water to the public from the waterworks erected by the Board and which is the property of the Board;"service" means all pipes, valves, cisterns, casks, fittings and other appliances through which water flows or is intended to flow after leaving the meter on any premises, and which are intended for the supply of water to such premises only;"supply pipe" means all pipes, valves, and apparatus between the main and the meter;"water-area" means the area declared under section 4 to be the water area of the Board;"waterworks" means all reservoirs, dams, weirs, tanks, cisterns, tunnels, boreholes, filter beds, conduits, aqueducts, and all other structures or appliances used or constructed for the obtaining, storage, conveyance, supply, measurement or regulation of water which are so used or capable of use by or on behalf of the Board, and includes any land occupied by, or under the control of, the Board for the purposes of such structures or appliances, but does not include any service.
Part II – Water Boards, water-areas, membership, powers and duties
3. Water Boards
5. Constitution of the Board
6. Control of waterworksThe Board shall, except for rural water supply areas, have the control and administration of all waterworks and all the water in such waterworks and the management of the supply and distribution of such water in accordance with this Act.
7. Record of proceedingsThe Board shall cause proper records to be kept of all its proceedings and kindred matters.
8. Officers and servants
9. Remuneration of members of the BoardA member of the Board who is not an officer in the public service shall be paid out of the funds of the Board such remuneration and allowances, if any, as may be prescribed.
10. Power to make standing ordersThe Board may, from time to time, make standing orders for regulating—
Part III – Further powers to the Board
11. Purposes for which water-works may be constructedThe Board may make, construct and maintain all such works as are necessary and convenient for the purpose of creating, maintaining and extending waterworks for supplying water for domestic, public and business purposes, for the extinction of destructive fires, for cleansing streets, lanes, gutters and sewers, and for all other purposes to which water and waterworks are supplied or are applicable.
12. Power to carry pipes, etc., through any land
13. Compensation, etc.
14. Power to enter landAny officer or servant of the Board, duly authorized in writing by the. Board, and any contractor executing any work for the Board, together with his agents and servants, may after due notice, at any time between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. enter upon any land for the purpose of surveying, setting out and marking the line of any intended pipe or other equipment.
15. Power of entry at specified timesAny person duly authorized by the Board in writing may, any time between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. or in the case of urgency at any other time, for the purposes hereinafter mentioned, enter into and upon any premises within the water-area through, over or under which any service or waterworks are laid—
16. Power to suspend, etc., supply of waterIt shall be lawful for the Board, or any person duly authorized by it in writing, to diminish, withhold, suspend, stop, turn off or divert the supply of water through or by means of any service or public fountain either wholly or in part, or whenever the Board may think fit, and without prejudice to any water rate, meter rent or other sums due or to become due under this Act—
17. Power to construct public fountainsIt shall be lawful for the Board, subject to the Public Roads Act, to construct public fountains and connexions with the mains in, over or under any public road, street or path in, over or under land held under lease from the Government.[Cap. 69:02]
18. Supply of water in or outside water-areaThe Board shall have power to enter into contracts to supply water from its waterworks or water-borne sewage sanitation services to any persons including any local authority, inside or outside the water-area on such terms and conditions as the Minister may approve.
19. Board to supply waterSubject to section 21, the Board shall provide a supply of potable water sufficient for the domestic purposes of the inhabitants within the water-area:Provided that the Board shall not be required to deliver such water at a height greater than that to which such water will flow by gravitation through the Board’s mains from the service reservoir or tank from which such water is taken.
20. Power to instal water-borne sewerage sanitation schemesThe Board shall have power to instal and operate water-borne sewerage sanitation schemes within the water-area.
Part IV – Services and supply of water
21. Request for supply of water
22. Construction and connexion of service
23. Expenses by whom borne
24. Services may be constructed by the BoardThe Board may, in its discretion, construct, alter or repair any service at the request of the owner or occupier, and on completion thereof the person who made such request shall pay the cost and expenses thereof in such manner and to such extent as the Board may require.
25. Supply pipes to be the property of the BoardAll supply pipes shall be the property of the Board.
Part V – Operation of water-borne sewerage sanitation
26. Provision of public sewers and sewerage disposal work
27. Board to keep map showing public sewers
28. Power of the Board to alter or close public sewersThe Board may alter the size or course of any public sewer vested in it, or may discontinue and prohibit the use of any such public sewer, either entirely, or for the purpose of soil and waste water drainage, or for the purpose of storm water drainage, but, before any person who is lawfully using the public sewer for any purpose is deprived by the Board of the use of the sewer for that purpose, the Board shall provide a public sewer equally effective for his use for that purpose and shall at its expense make his drains or sewers to communicate with the sewer so provided.
29. Certain matters not to be passed into sewers or drains
30. Right of owners and occupiers within the water-area to drain into public sewerSubject to this section and section 33, the owner or occupier of any premises, or the owner of any private sewer, within the water-area of the Board shall be entitled to have his drains or private sewer made to communicate with any available public sewer of the Board and thereby to discharge soil and waste water and storm water from those premises or that private sewer:Provided that nothing in this section shall entitle any person—
31. Use of public sewers by owners and occupiers without the water-area of the BoardSubject as hereinafter provided, the owner or occupier of any premises and the owner of any private sewer without the water-area of the Board shall have the like rights with respect to drainage into the available public sewers of the Board as he would have had under section 30 if his premises or private sewer were situate within its water-area and that section shall apply accordingly:Provided that, without prejudice to the prohibition contained in section 30 against the discharge of certain liquids or other matters into public sewers or into some public sewers or the right of the Board under section 33 to refuse to permit a communication to be made on any of the grounds set out in subsection (1) of that section and to require the drain or private sewer to be laid open for inspection, the Board may, in the case of a drain or private sewer from premises outside its water area, refuse to permit a communication to be made except upon such reasonable terms and conditions as may be prescribed or as the Minister may approve. Such terms and conditions may include—
32. Sewer connexions in streets and through private landFor the purpose of making or maintaining a communication with a public sewer it shall be lawful for the Board to construct or repair a lateral drain or, with the prior consent of the Board and in such manner as it may approve, for the owner of any building to construct or repair a drain or private sewer, as the case may be, in, on or over any land, but where such land does not form part of a street, the Board or owner shall give to every owner or occupier of such land reasonable notice and shall be liable to make good or, at the option of the Board or the owner undertaking the works, to pay for any damage done or occasioned by reason of the exercise of the said power:Provided that the works intended to be carried out in exercise of the powers herein conferred shall not interfere unduly with the amenities or future development of the land or any adjacent land and, in case of dispute, a person aggrieved may appeal to the Minister.
33. Procedure in regard to making communication with public sewers
Part VII – Financial provisions[Please note: numbering as in original.]
34. RatesThe rates levied by the Board shall be an annual levy in respect of any premises or part thereof and may take the form of a fixed sum, a sum calculated by reference to area or a sum calculated by reference to value and may be levied in respect of developed or undeveloped land and irrespective of whether there is a supply of water to the premises.
35. Board to make charges for supply of water
36. Rates and charges to be charged on premises to which they relateAll rates and charges levied and made under this part shall, as from the date they fall due, be deemed to be a charge upon the premises to which they relate and shall be recoverable from the occupier, and if he fails to pay, from the owner of the premises or any subsequent owner or occupier or the agent of any such owner or occupier.
37. Revenue of the Board
38. Disposal of fundsAll moneys received by the Board shall be paid into a bank licensed or registered under any law for the time being in force in Malawi and shall be credited in the name of the Board to such account as they may belong.
39. Investment powersThe Board may invest all or any portion of its moneys—
40. Expenditure of the Board
41. Advances from the GovernmentIt shall be lawful for the Board from time to time to obtain from the Government advances of money required for the proper carrying out of this Act. The money so advanced and the interest thereon, if any, shall constitute a liability of the Board and shall be charged on the property and annual revenues of the Board, present and future, subject however to the provisions of any agreement or other arrangement existing at the commencement of this Act.
42. Borrowing powers
43. Estimates and accountsThe Minister may make rules prescribing the manner in which the Board shall make and submit estimates of its revenue and expenditure or revenue and capital accounts, provided for the submission by the Board of annual statements of account, and prescribing the financial year in respect of which estimates shall be made and accounts submitted.
44. Keeping of accounts
45. Audit of the Board’s accountsThe accounts of the Board shall be audited from time to time by an auditor appointed by the Board.
46. Auditor may require production of documents and may summon persons
47. Report by the auditorAfter completion of the audit of the accounts of the Board, the auditor shall report thereon in writing both generally and on any specific matters as the Minister may direct. The auditor shall send a copy of such report to the Board and the Board shall consider the report within two months after receipt thereof, whereupon a copy of the auditor’s report together with the Board’s comments thereon shall be sent by the Board to the Minister.
48. Minister may act on receipt of auditor’s report
Part VII – Inquiries[Please note: numbering as in original.]
49. Inquiries by the Minister
Part VIII – Offences
50. Injury, pollution, etc.Any person who wilfully and negligently causes damage to any water works public fountains, public sewers, services or meters, or who unlawfully draws off, diverts or takes water from the same or from any streams or waters by which the waterworks are supplied, or pollutes any such water or allows any foul liquid, gas or other noxious or injurious matter to enter into the waterworks, public sewers or any services connected therewith, shall be guilty of an offence and shall, for every offence, be liable to a fine of K2,000, and to a further penalty of K500 for each day during which the offence continues.
51. Waste, etc.Any person who wilfully or negligently misuses or wastes or causes or allows to be misused or wasted any water passing into, through or upon or near any premises from any waterworks shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine of K2,000, The liability to such fine shall not prejudice the remedy by suspension of supply or otherwise as proved by section 16.
52. Change of occupancyEvery change, of occupancy of premises shall be notified to the Board. Such notification shall be made by the new occupier within seven days after going into occupation. Any person who fails to comply with this section shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine of K200.
53. Fraudulent measurementAny person who alters, or causes or permits to be altered, any service with intent to avoid the accurate measurement or register of water by means of any meter, or to obtain a greater supply of water than he is entitled to and to avoid payment therefor or who wilfully or negligently causes damage to any meter shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine of K2,000 and any service so altered or meter so damaged shall be replaced or repaired by the Board at the expense of the person convicted, and the cost of replacing or repairing any such service or meter may be recovered upon the order of a magistrate in the same manner as any penalty herein provided may be recovered upon conviction.
54. Foul accumulation of earthAny person who puts or accumulates or allows to be put or to remain or to accumulate, on any premises occupied or owned by him or his servants, or who shall not remove or cause to be removed or take such steps as may be necessary to prevent, upon notice in writing from the Board, any foul, noisome or injurious matter or any earth, deposit or excavated material in such manner or place that it may be washed, fall or be carried into the waterworks or the gathering grounds thereof shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine of K2,000 and for each day during which such matter, earth, deposits or excavated material remains unremoved after notice in writing from the Board, requiring the same to be removed, to a further penalty of K500 for each day during which the offence continues.
55. Penalty for unauthorized building over or near to pipes, etc.Any person who, without the consent of the Board (which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld), knowingly causes any building, works or construction of any kind whatsoever to be erected, performed or carried out, over abutting or adjoining any pipe or other equipment, the property of the Board, shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine of K2,000 and a further fine of K500 for each day during which the offence continues after written notice has been served on such person by the Board; and the Board may cause such building, works or construction erected, performed or carried out in contravention of this section, to be altered, removed, or demolished or otherwise dealt with as it may deem fit, and may recover any expenses incurred by the Board in so doing from such person.
Part IX – By-laws
56. Power of the Board to make by-laws
Part X – Miscellaneous
57. Recovery of penaltiesAll penalties under this Act may be recovered on summary conviction and shall be in addition to any other remedy or proceeding, whether civil or criminal which may be taken pursuant to any other law in force in Malawi.
58. Limitation of time for prosecutionAny complaint or information in pursuance of this Act shall be made or laid within three months from the time when the matter of such complaint or information arose and not afterwards.
59. Burden of proof in certain casesWhen in any proceedings under this Act any person is summoned or otherwise dealt with as the occupier of premises, if he alleges that he is not the occupier of such premises, he shall bear the burden of the proof of such allegations.
60. Recovery of moneysAll moneys, other than penalties or fines, payable or recoverable under this Act shall be recoverable at the suit of the Board in a court of competent jurisdiction as a civil debt.
61. Legal representation of the BoardIn any action suit or prosecution against by, or on. behalf of the Board, the Board may be represented by its chief executive officer (by whatever title designated), the clerk to the Board or by any other officer of the Board authorized in writing by the chief executive officer, unless in the case of prosecution, the Director of Public Prosecutions, otherwise directs.
62. Proof of documentsIn any proceedings under this Act, a document certified by clerk to the Board as a copy of a resolution or order passed or made by the Board or as a copy of the appointment or of any authority given to an officer of the Board shall be evidence that the solution, order, appointment or authority was duly passed, given or made by the Board.
63. Good faith shall be defence to personal liabilityNo act, matter or thing done or omitted by—
64. Minister may make rulesThe Minister shall have power, on the advice of the Board to make rules prescribing any matter or thing which may or should be prescribed under this Act and generally to carry into effect the provisions thereof.
65. Election to transfer to employment with the Board
Part XI – Transitional provisions
66. Power to take over existing waterworksUpon the commencement of this Act, the Board shall take over—
67. Taking over water-borne sewerage sanitationThe Board shall, upon the commencement of this Act, and after consultations between the Minister and the Minister responsible for local authorities, take over the assets, plant and machinery in respect of a water-borne sewerage sanitation system installed and being operated in the water area by the local authority of the water-area.
68. Vesting of liabilities, etc.Any right, liability or obligation arising in respect of—
Part XII – Repeal and savings
69. Repeal and savings
History of this document
01 March 1996