BY STAFF REPORTER
GWANDA residents and a local civic group have petitioned Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs minister Abednico Ncube to facilitate the removal of bulk water meters at the town’s main reservoir.
In the petition dated January 3, which was copied to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), the Gwanda Residents Association (GRA) and the Community Youth Development Trust (Cydt) said residents were being denied access to water following the installation of the meters.
Zinwa installed the meters at the main reservoir to stop the municipality from accessing treated water without payment.
The petitioners said Zinwa often disconnects water supplies to the municipality over outstanding payments, denying ratepayers access to water.
“The residents and the youths are of the opinion that if nothing is done to force Zinwa to disconnect these meters, the community of Gwanda is bound to face extensive water supply challenges,” the petition reads.
“Facilitate a disconnection of those bulk prepaid water meters and advise Zinwa to consider installing them in all government departments, which have proven to be the biggest debtors. Zinwa should always consider the plight of residents in as far as access to water is concerned – many women and girls were raped in the previous years in their quest of looking for water in ward 5.”
Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga said the water authority has no plans to remove the meters.
“At the moment, our position has not changed. We are installing prepaid water meters to all our clients. We have written to all the ministries informing them of the same, and also consulted our clients,” Munyonga said.
Ncube could not be reached for comment on the issue.
The municipality and Zinwa are at loggerheads over the control of water reticulation. In August 2021, GRA and CYDT representatives met the Local Government minister July Moyo over the control of the precious resource.
Government allowed Zinwa to take over all water functions countrywide in 2006, a decision that was later reversed following protests from local authorities.
But Zinwa still controls the water supplies at the town, and sewer infrastructure of councils such as Gwanda.