Zinwa owed over $100 million
THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) said it is owed an excess of $150 million in unpaid bills, a situation that has severely compromised its service delivery.
This comes at a time when the entire country is grappling with acute water shortages with some local authorities and individuals accusing Zinwa of sleeping on the job.
Speaking ahead of the World Water Day commemorations in the capital, Zinwa chief executive officer Taurai Maurukira said with water being a finite resource requiring efficient management, the authority faces challenges of water users who do not adhere to the legal requirements of extracting both ground and surface water.
“We have had to tackle matters of raw water users, mainly irrigators, drawing water from dams without the necessary water abstraction agreements as required by the law,” Maurukira said.
“The net effect of this has been sometimes unsustainable extraction of the resource, which is already feeling the negative impact of climate change while we also have to put up with clients who are not paying their bills.
“Currently, Zinwa is owed in excess of $150 million in unpaid bills with local authorities and irrigators accounting for more than half of the amount and this has seriously compromised our ability to maintain water Infrastructure and to provide cutting edge service to our clients.”
Maurukira added that the successive droughts that the country has experienced in recent years continue to exert pressure on the existing water resources and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Lands and Water Resources minister Perrance Shiri said Zimbabwe is not immune to the water effects of climate change and government is seriously seized with building the country’s resilience systems and mechanisms in line with the second republic’s vision to transform the country into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
“As part of our efforts to climate-proof our agriculture, urban and industrial water supplies, government is in the process of constructing more dams that are expected to address these gaps and also working to empower Zinwa and build its capacity to drill boreholes for vulnerable communities and in perennially drought prone districts,” Shiri said.
“The Authority is in the process of rehabilitating 933 non-functional boreholes to help improve the availability of potable water for rural communities.
“In line with the dictates of devolution, we have further decentralised the deployment of Zinwa borehole drilling rigs to provinces, a move that will certainly help improve the efficiency of drilling teams and bring that service closer to the people.”