Zinwa cuts off farmers

via Zinwa cuts off farmers November 15, 2013 By Herbert Moyo Zimbabwe Independent

THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has cut off defaulting commercial farmers in the Middle Sabi region of Manicaland province.

After an outcry from farmers over high water costs last year, the government ordered the authority to reduce the price of bulk raw water for agriculture and local authorities to enhance agricultural productivity.

However, this has not helped matters in the Middle Sabi as sources within Zinwa told the Zimbabwe Independent commercial farmers who include Chipinge South legislator Enock Porusingazi were not accessing water from the water authority’s Middle Sabi pump station after failing to pay.

“They have not serviced their bills,” said a source who added “this is a huge blow to efforts to increase productivity and mitigate the food security problems currently facing the country”.

Porusingazi confirmed the stand-off on Wednesday, accusing Zinwa of overcharging farmers through their “obsolete billing equipment inherited from the 1970s”.

“They have no proper gadgets to measure the usage of water and they end up presenting us with highly inflated estimates. It’s not only me but many other farmers are also in dispute with them (Zinwa),” said Porusingazi adding: “They charge as much as US$100 per mega-litre of water and we are saying this is not sustainable.”

A fortnight ago, the Independent visited the Zinwa pump station in the Middle Sabi and found only five out of the nine pumps working, pumping water through a canal from the Save River which ironically flows through the farms with farmers not accessing the water.

However, Zinwa sources at Harare offices said the five pumps were adequate for water requirements in the area because it is only ethanol-producing Green Fuel which is accessing water for its vast sugar cane plantations.

“There is currently no need to repair the other pumps because the five are meeting demand by Green Fuel,” said the source who added that “apart from Green Fuel the rest of the water is simply flowing back to the Indian Ocean because Zinwa will not allow the A2 farmers to use it for free.”

The Middle Sabi is an extremely arid area and as a result most farmers grow sugar cane and cotton which are more drought resistant. Efforts to obtain comment from Zinwa were fruitless as their phones went unanswered. Since its establishment through an act of parliament in 1998, Zinwa has struggled with farmers, local authorities and the general public who are unwilling to pay for the water, in addition to deteriorating infrastructure and limited financial support from central government.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 3
  • comment-avatar
    farai 8 years ago

    Rather than confront farmers with bills from every utility provider, government needs to reintroduce the system of statutory levies at point of produce disposal. This money can then be ploughed back to Zinwa and Zesa.

  • comment-avatar
    Pastor 8 years ago

    Heroes are those who can somehow resist the power of the situation and act out of noble motives, or behave in ways that do not demean others when they easily can.

  • comment-avatar
    Mr Mixed Race 8 years ago

    Zinwa is justified to cut water supply to those who fail to pay their accounts in good time.These farmers complain of $100 per mega-litre charge,in Bulawayo our water cost $0.75 per kilo-litre whilst these farmers are only charged at $0.10 per kilo-litre.Why did you ask for land when you knew you had zero resources to till it? If you refuse to pay your land will give you nothing ,then you will join the destitute at Mbare in Harare.This is another example of self imposed DEPENDENCE SYNDROME. Zinwa has to operate as a viable organisation not a charity one.Zinwa representative proudly stated that its not important to repair the other four faulty pumps.This naive person is not highly technical because when you start operating at 55% of your original capacity you have serious problems waiting for you.Wake up Mr Technician you are nearly at your boiling point of your operations unless you tell me that you have no spares or money to repair these pumps You are now over working these five pumps unless you had over provided in your initial planning by 45% which would indicate very poor project planning and waste of resources.