Richard Muponde, Gwanda Correspondent
GWANDA Municipality yesterday described the directive by the Minister of Water and Climate, Cde Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, for Zinwa to ration water in the town instead of embarking on water cuts, as one side of the same coin.
The Town Fathers demanded that the water authority should give up the water treatment plant and let council manage its own water.
They said water rationing and water cuts both deprive residents of Gwanda water for days given that the pumping prescribed by the Minister means that water will never reach high ground suburbs.
Minister Muchinguri- Kashiri issued a statement on the national broadcaster ZBC TV on Monday announcing Government’s intervention in the impasse between the water authority and the municipality over water supply. Zinwa installed prepaid water meters for the town last year to force it to pay a debt of about $10 million while council disputed the figure saying it owed about $3 million.
As the tug of war escalated a month ago, Zinwa resorted to water cuts leaving residents going for days without water. Gwanda Town’s Mayor, Councillor Knowledge Ndlovu, said there was no better devil between water rationing and water cuts.
“We appreciate the intervention by the Minister. It means the plight of Gwanda residents has been listened to and we can now engage. However, the Minister could have been misinformed. To us water rationing and water cuts is one animal. They both deprive residents of water for many days,” said Clr Ndlovu.
He said the timetable proposed by the Minister was impractical as the water authority would not be able to pump water to suburbs in higher ground
“Suburbs like Spitzkop North, Ultra High, Phakama, Spitzkop Medium, Senondo and Jacaranda will go for days without water. Going by the Zinwa pumping rate of 16 hours, they will not manage to pump water to higher ground that will also affect the hospital,” Clr Ndlovu said.
He said they were sending a delegation to Harare to find a lasting solution for Gwanda’s water problems.
“To us as council we are not mincing our words. The only permanent solution to the problems is for Zinwa to cede the Water Plant to council. Our Spitzkop Mega 5 Reservoir which is the panacea to our water problems is at completion stage and with the rate at which Zinwa is doing things, it will be a white elephant,” the Mayor said.