Byo council/Zinwa showdown looms

Loughty Dube

THE Bulawayo city council and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) are headed for a showdown after Zinwa announced that it is ready to take over the whole water supply system in the cit

y.


The announcement by Zinwa has irked city fathers who do not want the water authority to tamper with the city’s water supply.


Willie Muringani, the Zinwa board chairman, last week announced that the government agency was prepared to take over the water supply in the city if Bulawayo council felt that it was over-burdened and was failing to supply residents with water.


Muringani said Zinwa had made a similar decision in Harare and there was no reason why the water authority would fail in Bulawayo.


Muringani was part of a local government team that visited Bulawayo last weekend to assess the water situation in the city.


Speaking in one of the ad-hoc meetings held across the city, Muringani said Zinwa would pay for the cost of drawing water from source to the treatment works while council would put its own mark-up to cover the costs of distribution to residents.


However, Bulawayo executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the council would not accept Zinwa’s takeover of the city’s water infrastructure.


“That should have been a joke by Zinwa, the water in our dams is managed by them and they are the ones who are supplying us with water. What do they want to take over? Do they want to take over our valves or water pumps or our water taps?” Ncube said.


Bulawayo has been plagued by water shortages with some suburbs in the city going for close to two months without water supplies.


The city has failed to supply residents with water due to dwindling dam levels and damage to water pipes by newly resettled farmers and war veterans at the Nyamandlovu aquifer.


Ncube said there was no way Zinwa would take over the city’s water supply system since the same water authority was failing to adequately supply the city with water.


“They (Zinwa) are the ones who are failing to connect the city to Mtshabezi Dam. They are the ones failing to implement the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project and they have failed to repair the pumps at the Nyamandlovu aquifer,” Ncube said.


“Have they solved all the water problems in Harare where they have taken over bulk water supplies?” he asked.


“All this shows that they have failed and they cannot blame council for problems that are of their own making.”

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