GOVT DESCENDS ON BOREHOLE OWNERS | Government is going after borehole and water wells owners who are defaulting on payments of levies for ground water extraction.
According to the Water Act, all ground water is owned by government, and whoever extracts it is liable to pay borehole levies and fees.This comes as many desperate urban residents have resorted to drilling boreholes and digging wells due to poor and unreliable water supply by councils.
In Harare, residents sometimes go for days without the precious commodity, a situation which has seen non-governmental organisations drill boreholes in some suburbs in a bid to prevent disease outbreak.
Through the Upper Manyame Sub-Catchment Council (UMSCC), government has launched a blitz, demanding payment from defaulting borehole and wells owners.
It has since issued final demand letters to Harare residents.
“This letter serves to inform you that your groundwater levies of the above mentioned property with account number …. have accumulated to $120 as at 08/2017. You are therefore advised to settle your outstanding amount at our offices with immediate effect,” read an August 28 letter issued to one borehole owner in Harare.
In the letter, UMSCC argued that “the legal citations with regard to the payment of groundwater levies are covered by Statutory Instrument 10 of 2012 as outlined in the schedule in Section 3 of levies therein as read with 11,12 and 14 SI47 of 2000, as also read with the Water Act of 1998 CAP 20:24, No31/98”.
“Be advised the use of groundwater (boreholes and well) requires a permit and payment of quarterly levies as outlined in the cited statutory instrument.”
However, it could not be established how much UMSCC is owed by borehole and wells owners, as their phones went unanswered.
The UMSCC is a statutory water management body in Zimbabwe established by an Act of Parliament; Water Act of 1998 (Chapter 20:24) under the auspices of the Environment, Water and Climate ministry.
It is the lowest water planning & management unit upstream of the Manyame River that eventually flows into Zambezi River.
The UMSCC manages water in the upper Manyame sub-catchment, a river basin delineated on the basis of hydrological boundaries and pragmatism.
The river basin straddles over five administrative districts namely Harare metropolitan, Goromonzi, Marondera, Manyame and Zvimba.
According to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, a ground water source is regarded as a borehole if it has a depth ranging from 40 to 100 metres.
On the other hand, borehole diameters must range from 150mm-200mm, with the most common diameter for domestic boreholes being 150mm.