Sunday, 8 November 2015

Chitungwiza Ups Water Charges

Chitungwiza residents will fork out USc51 more for every cubic metre of running water come 2016, as council targets improved service delivery and investment.

Resident representatives and experts, however, say the decision should be rescinded as the town only receives supplies once a week.

Industries and commercial enterprises will be required to pay USc94 and US$1,02 per cubic metre respectively, up from USc64.

The first three cubic metres will be free, an arrangement the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ministry has approved.
Chitungwiza Ups Water Charges
Chitungwiza town clerk Mr George Mukunde told The Sunday Mail: “Our water charges were too low such that we were incurring losses at a rate of USc14 per cubic metre. No serious private sector player would want to invest in such a business environment.
“A few years ago, some investors wanted to build water infrastructure under the build-operate-transfer model, but backtracked after considering the water charges which meant they would only recoup their money over a long period. People should appreciate that we are doing this to improve the town’s water situation.”

Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust chair Mr Marvellous Khumalo said council should first ensure consistent water supply and then explore tariff hikes.
“There is no benefit to talk about here. The free water is insignificant; so little for a town that receives tap water once a week. The resident will pay for the free water as he/she pays for every cubic metre that comes after the third free one, and this will be at the new tariffs.
“In a nutshell, they have increased water charges and we, as residents’ representatives, are not happy about that particular decision.”
Rural and urban planning expert Mr Nyasha Mutsindikwa weighed in: “The municipality should seek other ways of attracting investors as increasing the cost of water will affect residents.
“In my view, it is unfair to increase the cost of services that one has not yet made available to residents. That is the position regardless of how noble a project might be.”

In August 2015, Chitungwiza Town Council tabled its water tariff review proposal, also spelling out an elaborate plan to upgrade related infrastructure, including constructing a dam.
Weekly, the town — with a population of 350 000-plus — receives 189 mega-litres of water from Harare against demand of 434 mega-litres.

Most residents depend on unprotected sources like wells and Hunyani River in St Mary’s.
The envisaged dam’s cost is estimated at US$400 million, with private investors expected to fund the project.