Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent
CHITUNGWIZA Municipality’s debt to Harare City Council for its water supplies has ballooned to $11 million from about $5,2 million in the last four years.
According to a recent Auditor-General report on local authorities, Chitungwiza owed $5,2 million debt to Harare as at December 2015.
The municipality, which feeds off from Harare for water supplies, said it ran out of ideas to provide water after its source water dams Seke and Harava dried up.
The Herald understands that no engagements have so far been made by Chitungwiza to Harare after the two dams dried up.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Deputy Minister Jennifer Mhlanga yesterday said Government was working out a lasting solution to ease water challenges in Harare and Chitungwiza.
“As of yesterday (Monday), l was discussing with honourable Minister July Moyo to see how best we can combat the water crisis in the country,” she said.
“As of Harare, we allowed its expansion without requisite infrastructure, there is need for necessary funding to correct the anomaly.
“l will have to go to Chitungwiza and assess the situation and get first hand information.”
Chitungwiza public relations officer Mr Lovemore Meya said the council made a payment plan to clear its arrears with Harare.
“We now owe Harare $11 million and there is a payment plan in place to clear the arrears,” he said.
“As of the water situation, it is just as usual, when we get some supplies from Harare we feed into our areas.
“However, there is no arrangement made with Harare after the supplying dams dried up.”
Harare City Council corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said they had found an alternative source to supply Chitungwiza.
“We are now supplying Chitungwiza from Morton Jaffray, by-passing Prince Edward,” he said.
The drying up of Seke and Harava dams has made it difficult for Harare to treat water at Prince Edward Treatment Plant which contributed 70 mega litres a day, of which 30 mega litres were dedicated to Chitungwiza and the remainder supplied Mbare, Sunningdale and surrounding areas.
The Auditor-General said Chitungwiza’s failure to have own water works and purchasing treated water from Harare appeared to be costly to the residents as the council set a mark-up on the water purchased.
The report recommended Chitungwiza to actualise the construction of its water source and treatment plant as this will improve provision to the community.
Chitungwiza’s plans to construct its own water supplying dam, Muda, has been moving at a snail’s pace for over a decade now.
Latest developments are that two months back, five companies expressed interest in constructing the dam, with the municipality still negotiating for funding with the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ).