RATEPAYERS who are not settling their bills account for half of the debt that Harare City Council is owed, resulting in the local authority providing shoddy services to residents, The NewsHawks has learnt.
Addressing a Water and Climate Indaba last week in Harare, the director of water, Engineer Phakamile Mabhena Moyo, said service delivery has been throttled by non-paying ratepayers and institutions whos3 cumulative debt has reached ZW$589 billion.
“One of the causes of water production deficit is the inadequate supply of water treatment chemicals mainly due to cashflow challenges from huge debtor balances, domestic, government and industry as illustrated in the table below.”
“As part of our short-term mitigation measures we have resolved to replace top 50 consumer government institution water meters and that is a step in improving billing accuracy and revenue collection. We also need to replace about 100 consumer meters to help us on billing accuracy and revenue collection,” said Mabhena.
In addition to hurdles in water provision, Mabhena indicated that infrastructure at water treatment plants had dilapidated so much that to refurbish everything would require US$12 million with Mabvuku-Tafara rehabilitation claiming a third of the proposed budget.
Mabvuku has been dry for decades now and restoration of water in the suburb would need to be done comprehensively.
Meanwhile, in light of the cholera outbreak, Mabhena indicated that wastewater management has been derailed by residents dumping foreign objects into manholes.
The challenges in waste water management are wide ranging, from old dilapidated collection and treatment infrastructure, booming population outstripping installed infrastructure, vandalism of sewage collection infrastructure, infant dumping in toilets, use of sand for scouring of kitchen utensils, illegal emptying of honey suckers at vandalised city manholes,” said Mabhena.
The City of Harare caters for a population estimated at 4.5 million, using dilapidated colonial-era infrastructure.