Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has blasted, the controversial Gweru City Council (GCC) for neglecting water and sanitation infrastructure.
This was said yesterday by GIZ Project Manager Stephen Lidsba at a Kopje Water Reservoir tour, that was also attended by the German Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Dr Thorsten Hutter and local authority officials.
Mr Lidsba said council is in desperate need of a strategic plan and vision to improve their water and sanitation services.
“This infrastructure that we see today has been neglected, which shows lack of strategic planning and foresight to manage water and sanitation infrastructure. It is very vital we manage our infrastructure so that, the public can have adequate water supply,” he said.
He further advised the local authority to manage their current infrastructure rather than hope to purchase new equipment.
“Let’s not focus on getting fancy equipment but focus on using the things that we have. We spent two months with our engineering team to find were the old pipes were and the old plans and how, water would get back into the reservoirs.”
“If we manage our reservoirs well we can achieve full capacity utilisation. Do you know what was wrong with the reservoirs? It was one well that needed to be opened. Rather asking for US$10 million, we simply opened the closed well. In the process we used only US$60000 to get the infrastructure working again,” he said.
However, His Worship the Mayor for Gweru, Josiah Makombe said the local authority is in dire need of funds to increase water supply since construction projects are increasing on a large scale.
“Our reservoirs need a total revamp in order to increase the current water supply from 60 mega litres to 120 mega litres. Our city is growing each and everyday from the construction projects, therefore maintenance is not enough to improve our vision 2030 of supplying quality water and sanitation services”.
“We wanted to put new pumps and infrastructure at our reservoirs to improve water supply. It is very costly at this juncture to maintain because the equipment is very old and breakdowns occur on a regular basis,” he said.
Mayor Makombe further added that, maintenance was easier if financial resources were available to keep the current infrastructure.
“It is very difficult to maintain your infrastructure if you do not have the financial resources. Germans are well fond of maintaining their infrastructure than purchasing new things. Even if you go to Germany their infrastructure is very old and well maintained but we can’t do what the Germans do since we have growing population and increasing housing projects in our city to supply water,” he said.
German Ambassador Dr Hutter added that, their government will continue to support local authorities in Zimbabwe in their agenda to provide quality water and sanitation services.
“We will continue working closely with Gweru City Council as well as other local authorities in Zimbabwe in their quest to provide quality service delivery,” he said.
During harsh economic and political times between, 2001-2008 resulted in the deterioration of services especially in the area of water and sanitation services.
As part of the humanitarian efforts to contain the deterioration of water and sanitation services, the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany through the GIZ, conduct rapid appraisals of the water and sanitation services in Local Authorities.