Zinwa wants to bill underground water users

via Zinwa wants to bill underground water users – DailyNews Live 27 September 2014 by Lloyd Mbiba

HARARE – Cash strapped Zimbabweans will have to folk out more after government announced plans to bill boreholes, a move that has rattled citizens.

Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) which governs the country’s water bodies has embarked on a drive to install meters on boreholes country wide.

Environment, Water and Climate deputy minister Simon Musanhu told the Daily News in a telephone interview yesterday that he supported plans for borehole owners to be taxed.

“Consumption of underground water must be billed because it contributes to the depletion of the water table.

“Mind you underground water levels have significantly reduced. In the past, one could access the underground water at 15 metres and now some people are drilling boreholes that go as far as 60 metres,” Musanhu said.

“This shows that the water table has depreciated and it is therefore important that we monitor the underground water.”

The deputy minister further accused most borehole owners of selling water.

“We know people are making money from these boreholes, so they have to pay,” he said.

Asked whether such a move would not rattle citizens, Musanhu said: “You know the procedure that one needs to satisfy before drilling a borehole. You need to have a permit for you to access the underground water. So people cannot cry foul if they are billed for consuming underground water because the same water is the one that feeds the rivers.

“If people are billed for accessing surface water, why shouldn’t they also be billed for using underground water?”

The minister however, confessed that he was not aware whether Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) had started billing boreholes.

“I don’t know what path they have taken, but they have been talking about monitoring bulk consumers. Whether they have decided on prepaid meters as a way to monitor bulk consumers, I am not aware,” he said.

While Zinwa spokesperson, Tsungirirai Shoriwa, had not responded to written questions sent to him on Monday, he commented on social network Facebook that the country’s Water Act states that anyone who has a borehole should install a meter on it.

“For the benefit of all, this is what section 43 of the Water Act says regarding anyone abstracting either surface or ground water; Records of amount of water abstracted to be maintained (1), and “to provide and install a meter or other measuring device for measuring and recording the amount of water abstracted,” he said in a post.

Precious Shumba, director of pressure group, the Harare Residents Trust (HRT), described the intended Zinwa move as “exploitative and hypocritical.”

“If Zinwa has indicated that they want all boreholes to be fitted with water meters, this is the height of exploitation of the people who have come to the aid of a collapsing service delivery system,” Shumba said.

“The fact that the majority of residents in the northern suburbs have sunk boreholes in their yards does not mean they wanted to do so. But water shortages have driven residents to find an alternative.

That is acknowledging government and municipal failure to honour their legal and constitutional obligation of providing all citizens with water.”

The HRT director further lamented that Zinwa should not punish people for drilling boreholes.

“Zinwa should not abuse the benevolence of citizens by trying to punish them for doing what is right under difficult circumstances.

“The government water utility should be grateful that these citizens did not take the government to court for failure to honour its obligations. If they decide to pursue that line of argument to have water metres on every borehole, then the water utility should seriously consider putting in place a fund to compensate residents who drilled the boreholes at personal expenses, because we cannot have a government’s agency that generates revenue without investing a single cent,” he said.

“They need to be accountable to the citizenry and not employ bully tactics to fundraise.”

Many Zimbabweans have resorted to borehole drilling in response to erratic water supplies from various councils.

Some northern suburbs of Harare such as Greystone Park and Helensvale have gone for years  without tap water.

To compound the dire situation, the Harare City Council has announced that it will disconnect defaulting residents.


  • comment-avatar

    What useless and desperate baboons. People pay a fortune to drill a borehole and then run a pump to get water, since zinwa supplies are either eratic or nonexistent, and now they want to tax people for doing their work for them. This government gets more desperate and pathetic with each passing day as if the common man is not suffering enough already.

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    Che'guevara 8 years ago

    Hey. Next time Zesa will be installing prepaid meters on consumers who installed solar panels on their homes. The argument- they cant access energy from our air space for free plus we need to measure how much of our solar system energy they are consuming. Comrade minister there are many reasons that can explain why the water table is going further down. eg 1)population growth and the supporting activities-farming, housing and other construction, drinking and other uses etc. 2) climate change- global warming and recurrent droughts plus desertification- we are cutting more trees (a] land clearing by new farmers, b]firewood selling has become a brisk and big business). My little knowledge of Geography and Environmental studies tells me these also have an impact on the levels of both surface and underground water. Whos fooling who? You will end up taxing even the air that we breath.

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    sunshine 8 years ago

    Water is a god given right to every inhabitant of this planet. Of course people pay for surface water they are paying for the relevant authority to pump, disinfect and clean and deliver the water to them. Typical of zim authorities to want all for nothing.

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    revenger avenger 8 years ago

    Will zanoid criminals/shefus ever pay tax ?????????? No.

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    Mixed Race 8 years ago

    How can you install a meter in a well?I will just disconnect my pump and then install a simple bucket system to draw water.If I install a meter I can always by-pass it without them knowing.
    You are now going too far,this will make the law abiding people to find ways of avoiding these silly charges.
    ZINWA lacks innovation in their quest to control underground water usage.I suggest you start by limiting the pump sizes eg to 1 Horse Power[.75 kilowatts] for domestic boreholes for depths up to 60 metres and 1.5 HP[1.1 kilowatts] for depths up to 100 metres.Number of boreholes per house hold should not be more than two.This will automatically reduce the amount of water being pumped out per house hold.I have seen huge pumps being used daily to water lawn in the northern suburb.Some of these residents are so irresponsible that they think this vital resource belongs to them only.

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    Let the municipality provide a steady supply of piped water to all homes in Harare before they charge us for accessing groundwater.
    There is now a tax on bulk groundwater deliveries of $3 / cubic meter.
    This is 3 times the charge for treated piped water when (if ever) it gets delivered to your house.
    Let us all demand treated water piped to our houses and let us all stop paying rates from today until that water supply is provided.

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    This is very immorality, unjustified and unethical. the difference between river and underground Zinwa does not do any value additon or purification so what are they billing for. As for the watertable it’s high time people stopped playing God. How that system runs is in His hand and is under his direction, zuro ndizuro makati total cloud seeding and didn’t we have that 1992 drought. Shame on Zinwa, just close shop and go back where you came from

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    Mbuya Nehanda 8 years ago

    These morons have become so desperate as to spend most of their time thinking of what new tax/levy to introduce to the already suffering people. Why cant they spend their time thinking what they can do to avail safe drinking water to the citizens? Next the minister of transport will charge us for walking because we cant walk for free. Bloody idiots! Get out of there, no one voted for you after all. Leave it to others who can manage the country better

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    So Zinwa owns all the water in Zimbabwe and wants to tax it’s use? Who gave it to them? Perhaps they should tax the sovereign air that we breath? Why is there not an air barrier at the nation’s borders to prevent colonization of Zimbabwe’s air by more advanced neighbors?

    They could install meters on every man, woman and child, so that they could raise enough money to fund Zim Asset to make everyone’s lives better. Hahaha!

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    chimusoro 8 years ago

    I think they are concerned about conservation.

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    We are already being billed by Upper Manyame Catchment area for registering of borehole, and a periodic charge. Haven’t worked out whether it is annual, bi-annual, quarterly or monthly, or whether multiple charges of $10 are an error.

    Nevertheless, ZINWA can’t climb in on the act as well..

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    They died for the land!!! and now they died for the water too!! Pathetic incompetent baboons.

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    Infect it should be the other way round. ZINWA should pay us for doing their job of supplying the nation with water on their behalf.Look at people looking for water when taps run dry.

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    Mukanya 8 years ago

    Metering boreholes,Solarpanel/Generator billing ; Zimbabweans are being taken for granted – Exploitation at its best