HARARE City Council has entered a partnership with a South African firm to lay 5 500-km stretch of water pipes simultaneously with underground broadband fibre optic cables in the city at an estimated cost of $100 million.
By Chief Reporter
Council spokesperson Lesley Gwindi told NewsDay last week that the water pipes would be laid down at no cost to the local authority. He was speaking during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.
“We have partnered with a South African firm that would be laying cables in the city. So alongside the cables the firm would also be laying water pipes covering 5500 km. This is at no cost to council” said Gwindi.
However, Gwindi declined to name the company involved and when the project would kick off.
Harare is currently failing to supply adequate water to residents, resulting in frequent outbreaks of water-borne diseases as people resort to unsafe water sources.
The city says it loses about 220 megalitres of treated water and $114 000 in revenue per day.
Gwindi said the deal would complement the ongoing $144 million Chinese project for the upgrading of water works at Morton Jeffrey Waterworks.
The company would at the same time introduce broadband communication services through the use of the same civil works and servitudes required to lay the water pipes and the fibre optics.
Asked on residents’ debts to council, Gwindi said the issue was a global phenomenon affecting all local authorities.
“It’s a global issue, but international local authorities are managing to handle it through introducing incentives to residents to pay bills. But here we are struggling and it’s down to the state of the economy.”