Gwanda disconnects water over ballooning debts

File pic: The local authority also revealed then that this had resulted in failure in pumping the precious liquid to the town.

THE Gwanda Municipality has threatened to disconnect residents and ratepayers owing the local authority in unpaid water bills amid revelations the council also owes the Zimbabwe National water Authority (Zinwa) more than ZiG800 000 for raw water supplies.

In a notice on Thursday this week, Gwanda town clerk Priscilla Nkala said the council would disconnect ratepayers owing the local authority.

Gwanda, in April this year, reported that it had been hit by a serious water crisis due to dwindling water levels at the Mtshabezi Weir supply source.

The local authority also revealed then that this had resulted in failure in pumping the precious liquid to the town.

“The Municipality of Gwanda would like to advise its valued customers that the council is embarking on a water disconnection exercise for all customers who are owing council water bills,” Nkala said.

“The exercise will kick-start at the central business district extending to all locations. Residents are required to pay their water and rates bills to assist council to raise funds to pay Zinwa as it is threatening to close raw water if council fails to pay.”

The council also blamed gold panners for vandalising the main pipe that connects the town to Mtshabezi Weir.

In April this year, Nkala noted that the mining town was in a water crisis affecting pumping with engineers working tirelessly to resume pumping while waiting for supplies from the Blanket Dam.

Meanwhile, Gwanda mayor Thulani Moyo told residents on Wednesday this week that access to water had become a crisis for the town.

“We have a problem from where we draw raw water, they are no longer drawable due to low levels. Zinwa is making all efforts to increase water levels by opening the new Blanket Dam.

“The problem is the vandalism of the main pipe that brings water from Mtshabezi Weir to the town by the gold panners. The efforts to sink deeper into the pipe that draws water are being made but this is not a final solution, it’s just a short-term measure as we wait for Zinwa to bring water from Blanket Dam.”

However, Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga said Gwanda Municipality requested the water authority to release water from Blanket Dam.

“On receipt of the request from the municipality on April 16, 2024, Zinwa started water releases from Blanket Dam to Gwanda,” Munyonga said.

“Ordinarily it takes 30 days for water from Blanket Dam to reach Gwanda. However, Zinwa is working closely with the council, providing technical advice in line with its mandate, on how limited water in the Mtshabezi Weir can be harnessed to save the situation in the town.”

Munyonga said Gwanda council’s account remains in arrears amounting to ZiG818 821,72 calling on the local authority to settle the amount as there was a relationship between service delivery and payment for services rendered.

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