BY LUNGILE NGWENYA
Binga District Residents Association (BDRA) has petitioned the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) to hand over control of the water provision services to the local authority avoid residents incurring unnecessary expenses of outsourcing clean water.
The Binga District Rural Council handed over water provision services to ZINWA which in turn is reportedly failing to deliver adequate water to residents.
BDRA presented a position paper to ZINWA to address the grievances faced by residents who are unable to access constant water supplies.
“We submitted a position paper to ZINWA and also met their provincial executive. The meeting was futile, our next step is to meet the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate,” said Elias Sibanda, BDRA Chairperson.
“Since the water provision services were entirely handed over to ZINWA, the service delivery has been marred with numerous challenges of lack of accountability and transparency coupled with failure to deliver quality service provision.”
He added: ZINWA has failed to discharge it duties of providing adequate safe drinking water to all residents of Kaani ward. Efforts by Binga residents to engage ZINWA in the past were fruitless as the institution is still characterised by a centralised decision-making process. The decision makers are based at provincial level whilst at local level, there are only operatives with no decision-making powers.”
Sibanda stated that in a meeting with ZINWA it was revealed that the reservoir, can only provide residents with water for 1 and half hours a day.
“It has also been observed that most residents living on the higher ground- areas like the medium density always face water challenges and this could be attributed to poor designing of the water reticulation system,” said Sibanda.
“The failure by ZINWA to discharge their duties as enshrined in the Water Act of 1988 has caused unprecedented levels of human suffering and ecological problems. In the absence of reliable and safe water sources, communities resort to unsafe sources of water such as the river- resulting in increased exposure to diseases such as cholera and other hazards like attacks by crocodiles.”
The BDRA chairperson pointed out that ZINWA should handover control back to the council as this has been done in Gweru, Victoria Falls and Hwange.
In response to the resident’s association request, ZINWA Corporate Communications and Marketing Manager Marjorie Munyonga said ZINWA would handover to the council if it had capacity to provide sufficient water supply services.
“Handing over of the water supply function to local authorities is a matter that is guided and handled at the level of ZINWA and the local authority’s parent Ministries. The ZINWA Act however mandates ZINWA to run water supply services on behalf of local authorities that lack the capacity to do so,” said Munyonga.
“In that regard, handing over to council can only take place when a council demonstrates, that it has sufficient capacity to run the water supply services.”
She said ZINWA is undertaking a water reticulation extension project in Binga that is being implemented by the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ).
“This project will ensure that more households are connected to the water reticulation system and have access to clean potable water. This exercise is in progress along the areas of the new low-density suburbs and has so far covered a distance of seven kilometres out of the target 11 kilometers.”
Munyonga said they are also working towards the completion of a bigger water treatment plant in Binga.