Norton is set to wean itself off getting water from Harare following the signing of a US$30 million agreement with Hydromart which will see the building of a 200ML water treatment plant.
The construction of the first phase of the plant, which will service over 20 000 households, will reportedly be completed in 18 months.
The agreement with Hydromart, initially announced two months ago, was signed this week at the Norton Town Council (NTC) chambers between Town Secretary Muhomba and Hydromart officials.
A statement by the NTC said the agreement is about securing the development of the project which was initially started in 2007.
“The whole agreement is about securing the completion of the development of a water treatment plant, started in 2007 and aborted because of lack of funds”.
“The earlier (project) was being funded by government through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)”, it said.
NTC Spokesperson Reggie Gavara said Norton had grown exponentially and thus required its own water plant since it is struggling to service its water debts with City of Harare.
“We owe City of Harare big time because we use a lot of water and there is a huge variance between what we bill and what they supply us. Such has been the case for years”, he said.
Norton had a population of 60 000 people as of 2012 when the last census was done but with a growth factor of just above 4000 per annum it currently has about 80 000 people.
Currently it receives 5ML of water per day from City of Harare but its demand ranges between 25ML to 30ML which creates a huge deficit.
Local legislator Temba Mliswa has however expressed skepticism at the deal alleging that the company failed to fulfil its mandate in 2007 in a similar economic environment.
“The company has been there, it left when they was inflation and has come back when there is inflation, so what guarantee do we have that they will finish?’
“It’s another shady deal marred with corruption, whilst NTC celebrates, were they really part of this deal and did they push for this deal?’
“It’s a company that has previously been given a chance and failed so it’s sad because its time wasting, Norton should be exporting water to other towns by now”, he said.
Hydromart will reportedly be on site after 12 weeks during which time they are expected to be mobilizing for resources.