Masvingo City Council has proposed a $12,3 million budget for next year in a bid to improve water delivery by replacing obsolete pipes and pumping machines.
The budget will see recurrent expenditure rise to $8,3 million from $7,3 million last year, while capital expenditure is at $4 million.
This means the council has increased water rates and tariffs to $4,30 from $2,30 per cubic metre.
So far, in the entire budget consultation meetings held in high-density suburbs, the residents have not objected to the budget, meaning it is likely to sail through smoothly and may be approved.
Only one consultation meeting meant for the low-density suburbs, which is scheduled for tomorrow, is yet to be held.
Masvingo Mayor Alderman Femius Chakabuda told NewsDay that the council had increased water rates and tariffs by $2 from $2,30 because Unicef, which was funding 40% of the local authority’s water chemicals, had withdrawn the offer.
“Unicef, which was helping us with water chemicals, has withdrawn the offer. This means that we are now footing the bill alone. We are however grateful for such assistance as it came at a time when almost all local authorities were broke,” he said.
Chakabuda said the council intended to buy three new pumps to replace the old ones installed in 1965 and to lay new water pipes to increase water pumping capacity by 30%.
“Because of the ever- increasing urban population, we were having problems in satisfying water demand. Therefore, we want to finish Phase 1B of our water augmentation exercise by buying three new pumps with a bigger pumping capacity, as well as replacing the old pipes.
“So far, we have already made purchases of the pipes. We need to increase our pumping capacity by 30%,” said Chakabuda.
He said the water augmentation was expected to be over by June 2011.
The mayor said the local authority intended to raise the $4 million from the sale of stands and other projects like brick-moulding and animal husbandry, among others.