Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has restored water supplies to Zvishavane Town Council, averting a potential health disaster in the mining town of 43,000 people.
Town secretary, Tinoda Mukutu said: “We had arrears of $116,000 of which we offset $99,000 with stands to Zinwa.”
Mukutu said they now owe Zinwa $17,000 which he said would be settled in installments starting with $10,000 at the end of this month.
He said there had been a misunderstanding between the Zinwa officers in Zvishavane and their bosses in Harare leaving the town to endure a day without water.
“We reached an agreement with Zinwa head office that we would offset our water debt with stands. But it looks like management didn’t tell their people in Zvishavane who came and disconnected water supplies. But all is well now,” he said.
The town is also now home to Midlands State University (MSU) after the institution of higher learning opened a campus there last year.
Mukutu said council was owed over $14million by local mines and residents.
“Shabanie and Mashava Mine owes us $10million and the rest is owed by residents and businesses. We are pumping two thirds of our water to Shabanie compound which now accommodates students from MSU,” he said.
Zinwa acting corporate communications and marketing manager, Tsungirirai Shoriwa, said they had reached an agreement with the municipality on the debt.
“Water supplies to Zvishavane were resumed yesterday (January 7) night following engagements with the council. Zinwa and Zvishavane Town council agreed on the modalities on which the local authority would retire its debt,” he said.
Shoriwa said the disconnection of water supplies to the town was part of measures the water authority was taking to recover over $100 million it is owed by various consumers among them local authorities, farmers, government departments, individual consumers, agricultural estates and mines.
As a result of the non-payment of bills, Shoriwa said Zinwa’s operations have been adversely affected with the authority facing difficulties in procuring critical spares, repairing and maintaining water infrastructure as well as procuring water treatment chemicals in cases where the parastatal provides treated water.