EDITOR — Our attention has been drawn to a letter to the editor published in Chronicle dated July 10, 2018, titled Protect us from ruthless lawyer and whose author is identified as Disgruntled Rutenga Residents.
In the letter the author raises concern about the disconnection of water supplies and the attendant legal action that the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has taken to recover its money from defaulting clients.
The writer further went to make a number of allegations against Zinwa, which allegations the Authority feels compelled to respond to.
The author alleges that Zinwa is overcharging water hence the failure by residents to pay.
Zinwa charges tariffs set and gazetted by Government and in the case of Rutenga charges $0,40 per cubic metre or 1 000 litres of treated water.
Zinwa appreciates the strategic importance of water in everyday life and the Authority has over the years
invited defaulting clients and others experiencing challenges in paying for its service to come forward and present payment plans.
These plans allow the clients to liquidate their debts while enjoying normal services. Clients who heeded this invitation did not have any disruptions to their supplies despite still owing Zinwa some money.
Litigation and disconnections only come as a last resort. Clients who have not come forward with payment plans and owe Zinwa amounts from years back are the ones who have been handed to lawyers.
Zinwa also allows its clients to pay their bills using EcoCash, Point of Sale Machines (swipe) at its offices and bank transfers.
The Authority is also available on mobile applications for some local banks and is working on introducing additional mobile payment platforms such as OneMoney and Telecash. All this was done to bring convenience to clients.
The Authority however values this kind of feedback from its clients and will strive to ensure more frequent engagements with them as it is such feedback that can help us to continuously improve our service. Zinwa remains indebted to its clients who pay their water bills and support it in various ways.
Zinwa once again emphasises that water is both an economic and social good, which users should pay for.
The nexus between paying for water and service delivery cannot be underestimated. The revenue generated from water bills allows Zinwa to procure water treatment chemicals, procure critical spares for the operation and maintenance of the water treatment and distribution systems. It also allows Zinwa to procure other inputs vital for water treatment and distribution such as electricity.
In addition, Zinwa appeals to water users to conserve water in their usage as this will help them keep their bills in check and help spread the available water among more water users.
Tsungirirai Shoriwa, Acting Corporate Communications and Marketing Manager, Zinwa