The Harare City Councilâ€™s US$272 million budget for 2012 is silent on the rehabilitation of water infrastructure as anticipated by many stakeholders though there are no tariff increases.
Harare has a serious water deficit, with the city only providing half of around 1 200 megalitres of the precious liquid required per day.
Stakeholders and ratepayers expected the local authority to prioritise investment in the water sector and rehabilitation of obsolete equipment but the 2012 budget proposal presented on Monday does not include the rehabilitation of water infrastructure.
US$3 million was allocated to the procurement of water meters to curb illegal water connections but nothing has been reserved for rehabilitation programmes.
Municipal finance expert, Mr Percy Toriro says though the budget is realistic considering the prevailing macro-economic environment, the city fathers should have prioritised infrastructural development in the water sector to ease the water woes faced in the capital.
“There is need for the growth of the water distribution and supply sector, and that is one area that should have been given priority,” Mr Toriro said.
Due to the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the west, multilateral finance institutions cannot provide funds for capital projects and another expert, Mr Barnabas Mangodza feels these programmes should be funded from the local authoritiesâ€™ coffers.
According to a recent report, the government needs about US$1 billion for water and sanitation projects including the upgrading of water and sewer infrastructure in cities and towns.
Harare City Council needs US$235 million in total.