Government has reviewed all new water tariffs downwards to make the levels affordable and instructed councils to stop charging unapproved rates and levies. Local authorities have also been barred from cutting off water supplies and locking out residents to force them to pay outstanding water bills and rentals.
With immediate effect, charges for raw water for local authorities and mining sectors (urban, industrial and mining water) would be one US cent per cubic metre or five drums, while the levy would be half a US cent per cubic metre or per five drums.
Treated water from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority [Zinwa] would cost 40 US cents per cubic metre or per five drums for the first 12 cubic metres while beyond the 12 cubic metres, punitive tariffs would apply in order to curb potential abuse of water.
The agricultural sector would now be paying US$5 per megalitre or 5 000 drums inclusive of levy for water from Zinwa. This includes supply from dams, boreholes and river pumping by Zinwa.
[...] The councils presented problems faced in the reclamation of water and sewer management from Zinwa, which range from lack of transparency on equipment, workers, broken-down plants and a critical shortage of water treatment chemicals. Minister Chombo said, as an interim measure, councils should charge half of their proposed rates and levies pending approval of their budgets.
[...] Minister Chombo said residents of high-density suburbs should continue to pay their bills in local currency but did not specify what would happen to a town like Chitungwiza, which is predominantly high-density but also needs foreign currency to meet its obligations. [...] Home-owners in high-density suburbs are paying up to US$35 for supplementary charges that include refuse collection and other service charges.
[...] Addressing journalists in Harare [...] Minister Nkomo said the new charges were interim as the Government was in the process of conducting an in-depth water sector analysis. “There is need for a proper stakeholder consultative process to take place. This shall be done in due course,” said Minister Nkomo. He said the downward review of water tariffs would make water affordable for every Zimbabwean and stimulate activity in both the industrial and agricultural sectors of the economy.
“Since water is so central to life and to national economic development, its pricing ought to reflect this fact. “While it must not be priced beyond the reach of the users, the price must, however, be such that part of the production costs can be met,” he said.
Source: Herald / allAfrica.com, 27 Feb 2009