THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has banned the sale of borehole water by some residents in Bulawayo who are taking advantage of the critical situation in the city.
Bulawayo has been experiencing acute water shortages that have seen the local authority only providing water in the Central Business District and industrial sites while most residential areas are going for days without the precious liquid.
The desperate water situation has seen some house owners who have boreholes at their premises selling bulk water and also supplying bulk water to middlemen who then in turn sell to their customers.
According to the Water Act, no one can use water for commercial purposes except in terms of a permit or agreement. Zinwa corporate communications officer Tsungirirari Shoriwa said selling of bulk borehole water was illegal.
“Water which is extracted from underground is governed from Statutory Instrument (SI) 90 of 2013 of the Water Act and that SI bars anyone from conducting bulk water activities from residential areas or other restricted areas. In terms of that SI, it is not allowed for anyone to carry bulk water activities within residential areas,” he said.
Those selling bulk water legally for registered companies in Bulawayo are fetching US$20 for 2 000 litres in the Central Business District while residents are selling the same amount of water for between US$10 and US$15 to illegal bulk water suppliers who in turn sell the water for anything between US$20 and US$25.
Shoriwa said bulk water suppliers must register their business with Zinwa in order for them to be given permits.
“It makes it mandatory for any bulk water dealer to be registered with Zinwa first. They must approach our offices because what they are doing is a criminal offence in terms of the SI 90 of 2013. Everyone who is engaging in bulk water activities must register with Zinwa. It is important to regularise their activities,” he added.
Those selling “smaller” quantities in residential areas are also being warned that they may reach the quantities of bulk water and risk being arrested too.
Zinwa has an updated list of all bulk water suppliers for the year 2020 and anyone outside of that is deemed to be selling bulk water illegally.
A 20 litre bucket of water is selling for ZW$10 in some residential areas as water continues to be a challenge.
According to Zinwa, the company is mandated in terms of the Water Act and the Zinwa Act to protect and ensure the optimum utilisation of the country’s water resources.
Zinwa has also noted that it is a legal requirement to have trucks that deliver bulk water endorsed as fit for the purpose of ferrying bulk water every three months.