Harare water charges are set to increase by more than 900% whilst entities dealing in foreign currency will also be charged in foreign currency, as the City Council allegedly seeks to meet costs of water production.
In a statement circulated on Tuesday, the Council said the costs of water production had gone up thus necessitating the proposed increase.
“Harare is proposing to increase water charges from RTGs 0.80c per cubic meter to around RTGs 7.00 to allow adequate funding of the water sector”.
“The cost of water treatment chemicals has increased by a factor of more than 10 since all chemicals are either 100 percent imports or have major forex components”
“The cost of electricity which is the second cost driver in water treatment and conveyance has also gone up”
“It has, therefore, become necessary to review the cost of water”, it said.
Meanwhile, from minutes of its 15 August meeting, the Council has set in motion plans to charge certain ratepayers in foreign currency.
“That the town clerk and acting finance director pursue the proposal to charge certain ratepayers or customers or services or products in foreign currency after applying for obtaining the necessary exemptions referred to in the preamble above from Government,” read the minutes.
The Combined Harare Resident Association (CHRA) has, however, come out strongly against the move accusing Council of making unilateral decisions.
“To us, this is not a proposal but a decision that has been arrived at without proper consultation of residents.
“We are very much awake to the current economic environment and the need for Council to be in a position to offer effective service delivery but we vehemently oppose anything that is implemented without consulting the residents”, it said,
The City is reportedly in the process of testing other chemicals with the objective of improving efficiencies and effectiveness of the water treatment processes as well as reducing costs
According to them, the current water shortages are a result of drought, inadequate water sources and the inconsistent water pricing structure against the cost of production.
Despite recent interventions by the Council many suburbs are still going without water and are relying on boreholes and other open water sources which are not clean and safe.