Authorities in Beitbridge are calling on the government to speed up the process of handing over the water treatment plant from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) to Beitbridge Town Council.

Beitbridge, the fastest growing town in Matebeleland South Province which was recently accorded municipal status, heavily depends on the availability of water as it predicts further expansion and development.

Currently, ZINWA is in charge of the water treatment plant, while the local authority manages the recirculation system and is forced to buy treated water at a high cost, which it then sells to its residents at an even higher cost, an issue that is stalling development as residents are unable to pay for the precious liquid.

Beitbridge Town Clerk, Mr Loud Ramakgapola, said if the water treatment plant is handed over to the local authority, this would lower the water charges and in the process facilitate expansion and development at sustainable rates.

“As a local authority,We want to be able to access raw water and treat it at a lower cost for the benefit of our residents, so that more resources are channeled towards other developmental programmes for our town to grow,” said Mr Ramakgapola.

Beitbridge is the face of Zimbabwe by virtue of being the busiest port of entry in sub-Saharan Africa, is sometimes forced to go for days without water due to power challenges as the national water management body has no capacity to pump using generators.

The local authority said this issue will be factored in its budget so as to serve the needs of its residents and the transit population that is estimated at around 15000 at any given point.

Efforts to get a comment from ZINWA were fruitless as the ZBC News was referred to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement’s Director of Water Services, Engineer Gilbert Mawere, who could not comment.