BY XOLISANI NCUBE
HARARE City Council has opened talks with a Turkish firm to set up a new water source in Harare South under a USD$3,2 billion deal.
The deal, which would be on a built, operate and transfer basis, will see council engaging Lidwala Specialist Solutions through a special purpose vehicle, Independent Water Provider (IWP).
“The IWP would be responsible for revenue collection from consumers for water services delivered, and would service debts associated with the infrastructure from such revenues, pending outcome of the bankable feasibility stage, the city and/or government may or may not be required to provide viability gap guarantees in the event that collected revenue falls short of the levels required to service debt obligations,” read minutes of the environmental management committee tabled at a full council on Tuesday.
According to the minutes, council invited the Lidwala executive led by its general manager, Corneles Groesbeek, to present the project proposal in detail.
Groesbeek told the council that the company was structuring a finance model for the project to ensure commencement of the deal.
The IWP targets to source its raw water from Muda Dam and undertake water purification works as well as establish distribution networks.
“The Government of Zimbabwe would be required to provide standby guarantees for purchase of the infrastructure in the event that the infrastructure was nationalised, lost through political unrest or other factors within the powers of government to mitigate,” read the minutes.
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Harare has been battling to provide enough water to its residents, largely due to polluted and dwindling water sources as well as dilapidated infrastructure.
Muda Dam is an ambitious $1 billion project outside Chitungwiza town, and envisaged to help ease water pressure on Harare by supplying to the dormitory town, which has been relying on the capital city.
The project, which is a public private partnership initiative with construction and civil engineering company Sesani, would need Cabinet approval once the feasibility studies are complete.
Ahead of the 2018 elections, the Zanu PF government said it had prioritised the construction Kunzvi and Muda dams to supply Chitungwiza, Epworth, Harare and Norton with fresh water.
Chitungwiza has been getting its water from Harare through Price Edward treatment works. But the supplies have not been constant due to Harare’s own inability to deliver enough water.
As of yesterday, Harare was pumping not more than 150 megalitres of water per day against a daily demand of 800 megalitres.
Harare supplies between 20 megalitres to 25 megalitres of water per day to Chitungwiza town, depending on availability, resulting in some households getting supplies once per fortnight. The situation has forced many families in Chitungwiza to rely on water from shallow wells or boreholes, exposing residents to waterborne diseases.