THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has disconnected water supplies to Gokwe over a $45 million debt owed by government departments, parastatals and residents.

Zinwa spokesperson for Sanyati Catchment area Obert Muchena told Southern Eye that of the $45 million, $7 million was owed by government departments and parastatals.

“Zinwa is currently cutting off water supplies to defaulting clients in Gokwe as a way of recovering part of the $45 million it is owed.

“Of that amount, domestic users owe the parastatal $25 million, while government departments and parastatals owe $7 million,” Muchena said.

“Commercial users owe Zinwa $13 million and they need to put in place plans to ensure that every affected individual pays so that they get their water supplies reconnected,” he said.

Gokwe Town Council chairperson Never Gwanzura told Southern Eye that Zinwa began cutting off the town’s water supplies last week.

“The main challenge is that while water supplies have been cut off, residents continue to be charged for services that they are not getting. We are currently engaging Zinwa over the issue,” he said.

“As council, we have been involved in a tussle with Zinwa over water supplies.

“Some residential areas in Gokwe have gone for months without receiving water supplies, yet they are billed every month.  It does not make sense that people are billed for services not rendered.”

Gwanzura said council had written to government seeking approval to treat and pump water to residents like other urban councils.

“Gokwe should be allowed to pump its own water so that we do not rely on Zinwa if the town is to ease the perennial water shortages.  As council, we have approved construction of solar-powered boreholes,” he said.

Gokwe residents, who spoke to Southern Eye, said the town had gone for more than six months without water.

Sukoluhle Nyoni of ward 2 said due to perennial water challenges, residents were using pit latrines.