Harare owed $400 million

HARARE - City of Harare is owed a total of $400 million by government, other local authorities, residents and industry.

The local authority’s town clerk Tendai Mahachi told a council meeting on Tuesday that maintaining and replacing obsolete water and sewer infrastructure is now difficult as ratepayers continue to default.

“City of Harare is owed a total of $400 million and in this regard, the city is appealing to government to pay its debt to enable it to meet service delivery requirements reliably,” said Mahachi in his monthly report.

Water provision has already deteriorated from at least 600 mega litres to 400 mega litres; of those about 60 percent is lost through leakage and theft.

This has forced many suburbs going for days without the precious liquid. Harare says there is little it can do to improve the situation if residents do not own up their bills.

“To return the situation to normal, the city would have to spend about a million dollars per month in maintenance and this is very difficult since many customers are not paying for the water services,” said Mahachi.

Though the city claims high density areas have water at least five days a week, most suburbs are going for at least four days forcing many to rely on boreholes and wells. Last year the outstanding bill stood at $300 million.

Harare’s water treatment bill currently stands at $3 million. According to Mahachi, replacement of the over 20 years-old water infrastructure is the only viable option as “any refurbishment would have minimal impact on the efficiency of the water services provided.” - Staff Writer

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