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Not Zinwa alone to blame for water woes

By Water Woes

REFERENCE is made to the letter by Loreen Mupasiri, “We surely can’t suffer for Zinwa’s sins,” (Zimbabwe Independent, November 3).

While supporting the writer fully, as a matter of fact, one should not place all the blame on Zinwa alone, for the cancer goes back to long before Zinwa was formed.

In 1971 Borrowdale Rural Council and the peri-urban town councils surrounding the city of Harare were absorbed into the city because of the prevailing water woes.

The water supply was to be metropolitanised.

Plans were made for the major pipeline which was laid from Morton Jaffray Water Works to Warren Pump Station in 1974/5 to be duplicated in 1982. This did not take place until the early 1990s.

That duplication raised the water generation capacity from Lake Chivero and Manyame Dam to its projected maximum.

Forward planning projected the building of the Kunzvi Dam and a 40km pipeline from the Nyaguwe/Shavanhowe Catchment, north of the city for the late 1990s if the city was to grow as anticipated.

The Kunzvi Dam and pipeline is a national government project which has been consistently ignored inspite of repeated warnings by water authorities.

The city councillors and commissioners have been as guilty as the respective ministries of dereliction of duty in regard to their responsibilities towards the ratepayers of Greater Harare by not providing infrastructural growth to match the city’s growth.

Sound technical and town planning appears to be a thing of the past.

The city continues to grow at an unsustainable rate without matching infrastructural expansion.

Some of the residential areas have increased property density with no upgrading of the existing infrastructure.

Water systems were installed following the 1968 drought on an emergency basis for the density of residential plots according to the town planning scheme of the time (eg parts of greater Borrowdale).

Properties reserved for local government or national use as endowment are being subdivided and sold as residential plots.

Much of this has been taking place before Zinwa came onto the scene.

The city has ignored ratepayers’ objections, formally presented, against annual published draft budgets. Residents’ constructive suggestions have likewise been ignored.

Zinwa now, as the metropolitan authority must face the music — provide infrastructural expansion and supply bulk water to revitalised local town councils based on the existing district offices.

District offices and their councils must be granted the autonomy to determine how their revenue is used to maintain their water, roads, street lighting and waste removal infrastructure to the standards required by their rate payers.

Town council officials must be given the incentives to take pride in the areas under their care and act in accordance with the desires of their ratepayers.

Water Woes is a pen name for a writer from Borrowdale.

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