Norton water treatment plant project in limbo

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© THE US$200 million Norton water treatment plant construction project which was meant to start in November last year faces uncertainty as the investor who had partnered with the town council failed to fulfil its obligations, citing foreign currency challenges.

Norton town secretary Kizito Muhomba said the investor, Hydromat, was supposed to be on site for the first phase on November 30 but the company did not show up.

“When the November 30 time frame lapsed, we extended the period to December 31 to allow Hydromat time to acquire the foreign currency which they said they were facing difficulties to bring in the country.

“However, they are still not on site to date and we have since called a meeting with the partner to engage them on the way forward,” Muhomba said.

Under the deal, the local authority had planned to construct a 200 megalitre treatment plant to be built in three phases.

The first phase was the construction of a 40 megalitre plant worth US$35 million to wean Norton from Harare City Council water, whose supply falls short of demand.

Norton is situated between two major water bodies — Darwendale Dam and Lake Chivero — but has not developed capacity to pump and treat its own water, forcing it to rely on supplies from the Harare City Council.

This is not the first time Norton has unsuccessfully tried to build a water plant due to lack of funding.

In 2015, the local authority entered into a $700 000 partnership deal with a German company to ease its water crisis, but it never materialised.

Meanwhile, as the council struggles with funding to construct its own water treatment plant, ratepayers owe the local authority over $23 million.

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