REDCLIFF Municipality has resorted to disconnecting water from defaulters as it desperately seeks raise funds to clear a Kwekwe City Council water debt believed to be hovering above $60million.
The cash strapped Redcliff turned to Kwekwe City for water supply after the closure of Zisco, which supplied the town with the precious liquid.
The folding of operations at the steel giant also resulted in low economic activity in the town resulting in low revenue collection by the local authority.
Kwekwe at some instances would cut the water supply to the smaller town after it failed to honour its obligations.
It took Government intervention ordering Kwekwe not to cut water and encouraged Redcliff to come up with a payment plan.
Redcliff Mayor, Clayton Masiyatsva however, said the revenue collection remains low that it becomes difficult for the town to render effective service delivery, let alone pay the debt.
“We are making payments to Kwekwe but the debt keeps ballooning and is now over $60 million.
“The situation has compelled us into disconnecting supplies from those who are not paying as we try to pull all stops to boost revenue collection,” he said.
Cllr Masiyatsva said those who cannot afford to service their bills can approach the local authority for payment plans.
In its $1,6billion budget for this year, Redcliff set aside $375million for the construction of a water treatment plant as part of the local authority’s efforts to alleviate water shortages.
As part of mitigation measures, Redcliff installed a new water pump to enable it to pump water to areas on high ground which had not received water for over a decade. Cllr Masiyatsva however said the project was yet to take off as they were still hunting for ap development partner.
“We are still looking for partnerships as we cannot go it alone given the low revenue we are collecting.
“We are hoping that we get a partner so that we solve the water problem once and for all,” he said.
Meanwhile, the local authority was seeking permission from the Government to use devolution funds to buy Bell Medical Centre which will then be converted into a hospital to service the area.
Currently, the town relies on Kwekwe General Hospital.
“We are waiting for a response from the Government so that we can pay a deposit for the purchase of Bell Medical Centre which is owned by a local businessman. The idea is that the institution will serve as a hospital for Redcliff and people will no longer have to travel to Kwekwe for medical attention,” he said.
The local authority recently received $40million devolution funds expected to be used in a number of projects including rehabilitating a block of flat in Torwood, upgrading Redcliff Clinic, repairing of sewer lines among other projects.
Redcliff has also earmarked five roads to be refurbished by the Government under the emergency road rehabilitation programme.