Residents of Empumalanga Phase 4 in Hwange heaved a sigh of relief after Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) reconnected water to the suburb after the Hwange Local Board settled the $30 million debt.
In February this year, Zinwa disconnected bulk water meter supplies to Hwange Local Board over a $28 million debt leaving hundreds of Empumalanga Phase 4 without water.
Hwange Local Board insisted that it owed Zinwa $9,4 million and not $28 million.
It then started billing Zinwa for using its water infrastructure to distribute water in the coal mining town resulting in it raising the money to clear its bill.
Acting town secretary, Mr Paulos Mabhureni said Zinwa reconnected supplies on Friday.
“Zinwa has reconnected water to our Empumalanga high-density suburb commonly referred to as Empumalanga Phase 4 after we cleared our outstanding debt of more than $30 million inclusive of penalties.
“Water in Empumalanga Phase 4 was disconnected in February 2023 after we failed to pay the $28 million bill raised by Zinwa,” he said.
Mr Mabhureni said while Zinwa’s bill was $28 million council’s bill to the residents was $9,4 million which was calculated from resident’s water meters.
He said the local authority disputed the bill leading to an impasse between the two entities.
Mr Mabhureni said the local authority was financially constrained to pay such a large sum as it was already struggling to meet other obligations due to low revenue collection.
“After realising that there seemed to be no end in sight to the stand-off between ourselves and Zinwa we decided to pay the bill,” he said.
Mr Mabhureni said council had resorted to supplying water to residents using a bowser.
He said they had since resolved to constantly check Zinwa’s bulk meter readings .
Zinwa does bulk water supply while Hwange Local Board distributes to consumers.
Mr Mabhureni said Hwange Local Board intends to implement sustainable water distribution in all new suburbs including sections of Empumalanga where the Zimbabwe Power Company has built houses.
He said billing Zinwa a fee for using water infrastructure was approved by Government.