By Brenna Matendere
The Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (Ucaz) has engaged Local Government minister July Moyo to push for consistent disbursement of foreign currency to buy water treatment chemicals.
This follows reports that local authorities are facing acute shortages of forex at a time when they desperately need to purchase chemicals to ensure smooth supply of water to residents.
Ucaz president and Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe told NewsDay in an exclusive interview yesterday that urban councils required a total of US$4 million every month to purchase
chemicals for water treatment, but the elusive hard currency was getting hard to get.
“I recently met minister Moyo at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and we had a frank discussion over the challenge of forex to buy water treatment chemicals. As you
may know, several cities in the country, including the capital, have been erratically supplying water to residents due to this problem. I openly appealed to the minister on
this urgent matter,” he said.
Makombe reiterated that in the same way government provides forex to some sectors such as the fuel companies, among others, it was of paramount importance for the State to
also prioritise disbursement of the elusive hard currency to urban councils for purposes of buying water chemicals.
“Water is life. All the other things come after water. So in short, we are saying government should avail forex for chemicals that treat water so that there are no hiccups
in providing it to residents and people in our cities. We do not want a situation where councils are forced to cut corners in treating water due to shortages of chemicals
because that results in a monumental disaster,” said the Gweru mayor.
“We wait to hear from the government on the way forward, but we are very hopeful that the matter will be addressed very soon.”
Among all the cities, Harare was the hardest hit by the crisis as it uses up to seven chemicals to treat heavily-polluted water from Lake Chivero.
The capital also pumps water to other dormitory places outside its jurisdiction like Ruwa, Chitungwiza and Domboshava. Lately other cities like Gweru, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Masvingo have been facing challenges of purchasing water chemicals due to unavailability of forex.