Over the last week, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) has been inundated by calls from individuals interrogating the rationale behind the banning of bulk water abstractions in Harare’s residential areas.
The people also wanted to understand why ZINWA was now charging $3 per cubic metre or 1000 litres of water the bulk water sellers were supposed to collect at the designated points of collection. Most people expressed fear that the $3 would trigger an increase in the price of the water while some even questioned what the money would be for.
ZINWA has designated Dema, Domboshava, Gwebi, Juru, Parerihwa and Nyabira Water Supply stations as the points where bulk water dealers and even individuals could go and collect water upon after making payments at the ZINWA Manayame Catchment offices. These areas have boreholes where people can get the water.
People might need to know that the $3 figure is broken down into three components where ZINWA, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate and respective sub-catchment councils would get $1 apiece. The $3 prices remains highly affordable taking into account that bulk water sellers were making a huge killing selling the water abstracted from Harare boreholes at a cost of $10 per cubic metre with households having to fork out $50 for 5000 litres of water. This price was already on the high side taking into account that in other jurisdictions trucked water prices, though market driven, are around $6 per cubic metre. It would therefore be unjustified for the bulk water sellers to then increase their water price in the circumstances.
The money which ZINWA will get from these bulk water sales would go towards the cost of maintaining and managing the boreholes and in question as well as developing new bulk water sites.
ZINWA is also mandated to monitor groundwater use, availability and quality in terms of the law. The revenue raised from the water sales will also be invested towards the execution of these duties.
Money due to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate will go towards the Water Fund. Section 39 of the ZINWA Act, establishes the Water Fund, which is administered by the Minister as a trustee of the fund. All money collected for the Water Fund shall be used for the development generally of the water resources of Zimbabwe.
The current charge is also in line with the principles of the Integrated Water Resources Management which regards water as an economic good, which must be able to finance its own development. This is unlike the situation that has been obtaining before the banning of abstractions in residential areas where no cent realised in the business was being ploughed towards the development of the same water resources upon which the businesses relied. The $3 charge therefore remains highly prudent under the circumstances.
One other thing that also needs to be brought to the fore is the fact the $3 charge per cubic metre or 1000 litres of water is arguably affordable as compared to prices of other water such as bottled water whose cost can be as high as $1000 per cubic metre or 1000 litres of water if the prevailing prices of 50 cents per 500 millilitre bottle is anything to go by.
For more information please contact the ZINWA Corporate Communications and Marketing Department on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.zinwa.co.zw. You can also like the Zimbabwe National Water Authority Facebook page.