Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
VICTORIA Falls residents have implored the municipality to urgently construct water reservoirs and address sewer challenges particularly in Mkhosana suburb.
The municipality has been failing to implement Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) project since its inception in 2014 because of lack of funding.
As a result, residents, especially in high density suburbs, have no water during the day while some parts of Mkhosana go for days without the precious liquid.
The local authority has said it needs about US$8 million for the first phase of the Wash project which will include upgrading the water system and duplicating the existing piping to be able to address the challenges.
BD46 section of Mkhosana has been using septic tanks for the past two decades while the hole suburbs have no reservoir hence water distribution in the area becomes a challenge.
Speaking at a budget preparatory meeting called by ward 11 councillor Edmore Zhou for Mkhosana residents yesterday, participants implored the local authority to implement the Wash project in phases in light of funding challenges.
“We have been budgeting for the past 20 years for a reservoir yet nothing has happened. We need timelines and probably you can phase the construction of reservoirs,” said a resident.
Residents appealed to council to reduce some of the charges especially on water and also to prioritise sewer development in BD46 which has been using septic tanks since its inception two decades ago.
They said council should also prioritise development of roads in Mfelandawonye section as well as address a long-standing issue of estimating water readings.
Responding to issues, town engineer Mr Nathan Ngwenya said the municipality requires US$8 million to be able to solve the town’s water problems.
“Water is a challenge for the whole town but Mkhosana is worst affected because we don’t have reservoirs for the suburb. This is the reason why the council is pushing for the Wash programme and we need US$8 million to be able to do this and attend to the whole water system. The problem is that what we are getting as revenue is just a fraction,” said Mr Ngwenya.
Residents implored the council to implement the project in a phased approach saying they are tired of enduring dry taps for most part of the day on a daily basis.
“Yes, we can do it in phases but that is we are assured of constant revenue flows because bringing a contractor for a short time and having to stop them will become expensive as they will charge mobilization costs,” said Mr Ngwenya.
The meeting was meant to update residents about the status of budget making process and to educate them on the procedure for objecting to issues included in the budget.
In the past the council has clashed with residents over the budget as the latter would accuse the city fathers of making unilateral decisions without consulting stakeholders.
On the other hand, councillors and municipal management have blamed residents for not attending budget preparation meetings.
Cllr Zhou urged residents to document their objections and submit to council management before the rates are advertised.
“What you need to do is to organize yourselves since you now know issues that you want to object to. Write them down individually and submit to the council. Objections gathered from about 50 people on a particular issue are considered for review,” said Cllr Zhou.
He said his ward had realised significant progress in development after surfacing two roads in Mfelandawonye and Hlalani Kuhle during the lockdown.
Cllr Zhou also acquired two ambulances for the local authority from some international donors a development which has improved access to health care in the town.
The council proposed a US$4 426 854 or $25 898 505 budget prioritizing maintenance of buildings, computers and office furniture, infrastructure, land, motor vehicles, office and plant equipment and roads.