The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) says it is owed more than ZW$19 billion (US$21 million) in unsettled water bills by customers, something the country’s water agent says is threatening its operations.
In a statement, ZINWA corporate communications and marketing manager Marjorie Munyonga said as of February 28 this year, consumers owed the authority a total of $19,195,745,109. 49.
The money is equal to US$21 million if pegged against the official bank rate of US$1:ZW$912.
The debt is up from $12,094,154,179.99 at the end of November 2022.
“Of this amount, Government Ministries and Departments account for $6,682,346,440.96, with irrigators owing $4,419,389,269.10.
“Local Authorities owe ZINWA $2,604,611,542.26 and domestic clients account for $2,604,726,895.41, agricultural estates owe $867,910,976.08 and mines $652,205,348.18.
“Churches and parastatals owe $50,768,861.14 and $468,224,151.52 respectively.
“A total of $321,393,659.57 is owed by schools,” she said.
To recover the debt, Munyonga said, ZINWA is instituting remedial measures which include disconnecting defaulting clients, engagement of the debtors themselves and taking legal action against some of the debtors.
“This huge debtors’ book continues to weigh down ZINWA’s operations as the revenue generated from the payment of bills is used to pay for critical inputs such as water treatment chemicals, fuel, electricity and spares.
“The Authority is also installing prepaid water meters to help curb the further growth of the debtors’ book with prepaid water meters having already been installed in Karoi, Mvurwi, Chivhu, Murehwa, Gokwe, Nyanga, Mutoko and more recently; Glendale where the installation of 1 900 prepaid water meters is underway,” she said.
In the past, ZINWA has had to disconnect water for defaulting customers in efforts to force payment of outstanding debt.
ZINWA is a government owned entity established in 2000 to manage the country’s water resources.