BY REX MPHISA
THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has blamed the Beitbridge municipality for the recurrent water shortages in the border town, saying the local authority is failing to pay for the essential commodity.
Beitbridge suffers erratic water supplies, a situation further worsened by a Zinwa move to install bulk water meters at the main supply line to stop the municipality from accessing water for free.
Zinwa supplies bulk water to the municipality, which then sells it to residents and other institutions.
But serious water shortages stalk the border town whose supplies are drawn from the Limpopo River owing to the raging conflict between Zinwa and the municipality.
Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga said the water authority had capacity to supply the border town as long as there is payment.
“It is that simple but we have some officials within the municipality who are into the business of selling water, and naturally supplying water to the entire town will be unhealthy for their enterprises,” Munyonga said.
“That is common knowledge and nothing has been done about that.”
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Beitbridge District Hospital, Beitbridge Prisons and Correctional Services, the border post and several other public institutions have been running without adequate supplies resulting from the stand-off.
“There are also a number of unprofessional water connections that result in pipe bursts,” Munyonga said.
“We have several institutions connected to a trunk line, which is an engineering mistake.
“The moment we pump to fill up tanks there are numerous bursts because the truck line has been weakened.”
More than 6 000 houses in various sections of Dulivhadzimo high-density suburb do not have running water, and residents are forced to buy the liquid from hawkers.
“If there is will, everyone in Beitbridge can be supplied with water but the council is paying $1.5 million a week and it is far inadequate for the town that consumes water worth $4 million a week.
“Their debts stand at $200 million,” said Munyonga.
Beitbridge town clerk Loud Ramagkapola did not respond to most questions, but said his municipality was owed several millions of dollars by ratepayers, including Zinwa.
“Government departments including Zinwa itself owe us millions,” Ramagkapola said.
“Several other businesses also owe us.”
Beitbridge East Member of Parliament Albert Nguluvhe expressed concern over the water challenges in the border town.
“Beitbridge is not any other town, it is a regional trade hub,” Nguluvhe said.
“What happens at Beitbridge reflects throughout the region and issues related to water should be handled with seriousness.”