Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) recently announced that it is going to make bulk water suppliers register and get their water outside Harare a move that will make water supplies even scarce while some sections believe the move will safeguard the fast dwindling resource.
The national water regulatory board asked all suppliers of bulk water in urban areas to register their ventures as it tries to curb the use of the precious fast dwindling resource.
The board designated five points as water collection points for bulk water suppliers; namely Juru, Gwebi, Dema, Henderson Research Station and Parirewa.
Zinwa spokesperson Tsungirai Shoriwa quoted Section 43 of the Water Act saying regarding anyone abstracting either surface or ground water; Records of amount of water abstracted to be maintained (1), and to provide and install a meter or other measuring device for measuring and recording the amount of water abstracted.
Established in 1997; the Authority’s responsibility is to develop and manage the national water resources whilst the regulatory functions remain the responsibility of the Government; ZINWA operates on a commercial basis except in respect of certain non-commercial functions for which levies will be raised from certain water consumers.
This clause gives ZINWA the power to monitor, bill and regulate all water related operations within the country.
“Billing of borehole water for me will ensure that we safeguard our ground water; since most people who have borehole were abusing the resource.
“If one is asked to pay a minimal fee for the amount of water s/he would have used I don’t see any problem in that; but this would encourage people to use the resource sparingly,” said one Chitungwiza resident Simbarashe Maturure.
ZINWA is there to provide for the imposition and collection of a water levy and to repeal the Regional Water Authority Act [Chapter 20:16]; so the Authority is acting within the jurisdictions of the law.
According to ZINWA’s Corporate Communications and Marketing Manager Mrs Majorie Munyonga; the bulk water suppliers were being asked to pay a reasonable fee of $3 per 1000 litres.
The vast majority of these private water suppliers are individually funded projects; who access the resource for free and so being asked to pay a minimal fee would likely have an impact on the fee charged for water by bulk water suppliers.
“We get our water from boreholes which we drilled as private players and so ZINWA wants to reap were it has not sawn; so if they install meters on our boreholes this will be any expense on our side; which we will push on the consumers part”, said a Water.com truck driver who referred to himself as Peter.
Demand for water supplies from these private players has been on the boom as town councils have failed to supply clean running water in the tapes for months.
“I feel that ZINWA should have made sure that we have running water in our tapes first before embarking on a witch-hunt spree on these private players who are providing a service to ordinary citizens” said Chideme Gerald a resident in Manyame: Chitungwiza.
The Ministry of Water Resources Development and Management gave unregistered suppliers an ultimatum to register by August or be penalized.
This call by the Ministry has raised concern amongst most residents as this measure is likely worsen the water situation in the major cities and towns.
“In my area we never get any water in our tapes, we solely depend on these private players; so asking them to register might be a challenge as some won’t be able to meet the governments requirements”, said one disgruntled Mabvuku resident; Nyasha Zaranyika
As of July 31 ZINWA was owed more than $20 million by local authorities in unpaid supplies of water and irrigators owe the parastatal $35,2 million while Government’s debt is estimated to be about $20 million.