THE Harare City Council has clashed with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) over the transfer of council water treatment facilities to Zinwa as the authority takes over the capita
l’s bulk water supply functions.
Sources in the Treasury department said the commission running Harare shot down a government directive to transfer council workers, liabilities on water treatment chemicals and other council assets to Zinwa at no cost.
Zinwa, which took over Manyame, Chivero and Seke dams last May, had a directive to take over raw water pipelines, tunnels supplying water to treatment plants, the water works and staff involved in water processing without paying the local authority.
“Zinwa wants to take over Morton Jaffray and Prince Edward Dam treatment works and associated analytical laboratories,” a source said.
“All the staff related to the supply of water and council assets will be transferred to Zinwa at no cost,” he said.
The source said a council delegation led by Sekesai Makwavarara approached Local Government and Water Resources ministries to raise concerns over free transfer of ratepayers’ assets and impressed on them the need for compensation, forcing government to call for an evaluation.
“A team of council officials and private evaluators will be set up to quantify the value of council assets in the water division to be transferred to Zinwa,” the source said.
Sources said although Zinwa agreed in principle to compensate council for its assets, it has no resources to pay.
Town clerk Nomutsa Chideya confirmed that council was in the process of valuating its assets to prepare a bill for Zinwa.
“The modalities are still being worked out,” Chideya said.
“Zinwa will have to pay for the assets once the valuation is completed.”
The fight over assets comes at a time when Zinwa has failed to solve Harare’s crippling water shortages, exposing residents to threats of disease outbreaks.
The water situation has deteriorated to an all-time low in virtually all suburbs.
Residents said in some places water was available for only six hours at night when people are sleeping.
“We have resorted to fetching water at night when it comes,” Eric Makaya of Msasa Park said.
“Sometimes you wake up to be told that the water is already gone.”