The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) makes it very difficult for local authorities to provide effective services due to their steep raw water prices, chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Local Government Irene Zindi said.
Speaking at a Combined Harare Residents Association meeting, Zindi said fights between Zinwa and local authorities over the billing system often affect service delivery.
“Zinwa is making it very difficult for local authorities to offer effective service delivery. Either the water they sell is too expensive or their plants are broken. Sometimes Zinwa and local authorities take each other to the courts and the little that is collected by local authorities goes towards meeting legal costs,” she said.
Pointing out to the government’s populist decision to scrap debts, the Zanu PF legislator said local authorities are still reeling and enmeshed in debt.
Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager Marjorie Munyonga told the Daily News that the tariffs for local authorities have been in place from as far back as 2012.
Munyonga said Zinwa charges $0,70 for every 1 000 litres of bulk treated water, a tariff that was arrived at after striking a balance between availability and affordability of the service.
She, however, said for the past few years local authorities have not been paying their water bills which are now running into millions of dollars.
“Local authorities account for over $33 million of the nearly $140 million Zinwa is owed by its various clients such as farmers. The situation has resulted in an untenable situation where Zinwa is now struggling to ensure basic maintenance of the water infrastructure such as dams that supply water to the very local authorities and other clients,” Munyonga said.
According to a Harare water supply dams report for August, using Lake Chivero as the sole source of water, Harare has 164 days or five months of supply left.
The report showed that there is a further 100 megalitres per day that can be accessed from the Lake Chivero old intake for 100 days.
“Harare City Council is currently servicing the electro-mechanical equipment at Darwendale pump station which draws water from Manyame Dam and this is expected to be operational by mid-September,” the report said.
In June, this year, council installed 3 000 prepaid meters in Bluffhill, the Avenues, Sunningdale, Kambuzuma, Greendale and Avondale on a pilot scheme.
Companies providing the pilot meters are Hukoshwa, Industrial Products, Syvern, Tricon Investments and Utility Systems — with only three set to be contracted once the trial run is completed.
Council predicts that once successfully installed prepaid meters would reduce non-revenue water by 20 percent and increase revenue by about $21,6 million per year. daily news