Residents Refuse To Pay Water Bills
21 June 2023
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By Dorrothy Moyo | The city of Gweru is currently grappling with a severe water crisis, leading to residents accumulating a staggering debt of $12 billion in unpaid water bills. The mayor of Gweru, Councillor Hamutendi Kombayi, has pointed out that the reluctance of residents to pay their bills is a result of the local council’s failure to provide an adequate water supply. This article delves into the reasons behind the water shortage and analyzes the mayor’s concerns about the mismanagement of the situation.

Insufficient Water Supply and Rationing:

The local authority recently released a water rationing schedule, indicating that many areas in Gweru would only receive water once a week. However, some suburbs, particularly those in high-lying areas, have endured water scarcity for more than three months, forcing residents to resort to unsafe water sources. This prolonged lack of access to clean water is a cause for great concern and raises questions about the council’s ability to meet the basic needs of its residents.

Mismanagement and Inadequate Resources:

One of the key issues contributing to the water crisis in Gweru is the alleged purchase of incorrect pumps by the council. Reports suggest that these pumps are unable to meet the city’s daily water consumption needs. As a result, the council is pumping a mere 37 megalitres of water per day, significantly below the demand of approximately 80 megalitres. This shortage has necessitated water rationing, exacerbating the plight of residents and leading to mounting frustrations.

Mayor’s Call for Action:

Mayor Kombayi has called upon the council’s management to prioritize the provision of water to residents and allocate more resources towards resolving the crisis. He rightly points out that residents cannot be expected to pay for a service they are not receiving. The mayor’s concerns are valid, especially considering that the bulk of the city’s revenue is derived from water bills. With a substantial portion of residents withholding payments due to the inadequate water supply, the council is facing a significant financial setback.

Power Outages as a Contributing Factor:

In addition to the mismanagement of water resources, the water crisis in Gweru has been compounded by frequent power outages. These outages have further hampered the council’s efforts to pump and distribute water effectively. The situation highlights the need for a dedicated power line to Gwenoro Dam, which would alleviate the dependence on the unreliable power supply and help address the water scarcity issue.

The water crisis in Gweru has reached a critical point, with residents experiencing prolonged water shortages and accumulating a substantial debt in unpaid bills. The mayor’s concerns about the council’s mismanagement and failure to provide an adequate water supply are justified. Urgent action is needed to address the situation, including rectifying the issue with the incorrect pumps, allocating more resources to water provision, and exploring solutions to mitigate the impact of power outages. By prioritizing the basic needs of its residents, the local authority can begin to restore confidence and ensure a sustainable water supply for the city of Gweru.