The protracted war over the management of water between Hwange Local Board (HLB) and Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has ended following the latter’s decision to hand over sewer reticulation to the board.
HLB and Zinwa have for the past 10 years been engaged in bitter war over water management with council blaming the water authority for failing to manage sewer resulting in constant bursts and spillage.
The battle, which started soon after Zinwa took over control of water and sewer administration in most towns across the country following a government directive 14 years ago, saw raw effluent being discharged into Deka River and Kalope Dam which are sources of drinking water for the Hwange communities.
HLB had indicated that it was prepared to accept sewer infrastructure back on condition that Zinwa also hands over water administration, arguing that the revenue from the water management would assist in the maintenance of the sewer plants.
However, the water authority was not prepared to do so, hence the continued impasse which eventually saw HLB neglecting the sewer infrastructure which led to recurrent pipe bursts spewing raw sewerage into the streets and streams.
In a notice to the public, HLB town secretary, Ndumiso Mdlalose said a landmark meeting his office had with officials from Zinwa had yielded positive results as the process of handing over the running of the sewer reticulation had begun.
“Notice is hereby given to Hwange residents and all stakeholders that the management of sewer will finally be handed over to HLB with effect from July 1, 2018 following a landmark meeting between the town secretary, council management and Zinwa on May 31, 2018,” Mdlalose said.
He said council had made strides in addressing problems around the sewer reticulation system, with the non-functional Empumalanga and Baobab treatment plants that are undergoing refurbishment, putting an end to pollution.
Mdlalose said council and Zinwa were currently attending to all the sewerage hot spots as part of the handover process, which would last until later this month.
“Efforts to have the management of water returned to council as well have been going on for a long time now and it is hoped that the situation will be finalised soon,” he said.
The local authority has inched closer to attaining municipal status after government intervened in the tussle over roles by the four town administrators. These are Hwange Colliery Company Limited, Zimbabwe Power Company, National Railways of Zimbabwe and HLB.