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RESIDENTS of Dangamvura high density suburb in Mutare have threatened a massive demonstration if the local authority fails to complete constructing of the Chikanga-Dangamvura water project by end of this month.

Speaking at a feedback meeting organised by Ward 18 councillor, Kudakwashe Chisango, disgruntled residents said their patience has been stretched too far and were tired of accessing water in the middle of the night.

One resident said if there is to be any progress on the project, which commenced in 1996, peaceful demonstrations at the Civic Centre was the only viable option left for them to push council into action.

“People should act as one in this matter and unless we start waving placards and staging demonstrations, this project will take another 20 years to complete,” said a disgruntled resident.

Residents blamed the council for not being transparent over the actual cost of completing the project.

“We are very disappointed at the way council has been operating behind closed doors on the issue of the pipeline.

At the beginning of the project, city of Mutare revealed that project would cost US$300,000 but they have made an abrupt u-turn saying they need an extra US$400,000.

“We suspect that there are some underhand deals going on and we are very angry because the project has been delayed for a long time,” said Tawanda Matambanadzo, a resident from Dangamvura.

Women said they have borne the brunt of persistent water shortages as they are forced to wake up during odd hours in search of water for domestic consumption.

“We have to work up as early as 1am to search for water. The situation is pathetic and the local authority has taken too long address this matter,” said Martha Mamombe, a mother of three.

Earlier this year, Town engineer, Donaldson Nyatoti, said council was providing water to 38 000 households on a rotational basis.

He told the visiting German Ambassador that the Chikanga-Dangamvura water project was 90 percent complete and required a total of US$850,000 to finish.

Nyatoti bemoaned apparent losses in revenue saying council was only billing 47 percent while the rest was unaccounted for because of leakages caused by faulty and outdated meters.

“We are currently supplying water to 38 000 households on a rotational basis,” he said.

“The project is about 90 percent complete but without the 10 percent, we cannot talk of completion and we will be concentrating on the 10 percent which is the most critical.

“In Dangamvura, there is need for special high pressure pipes stretching for two kilometres (and) that’s where we need the bulk of the US$850,000 for the completion of the pipeline.”

Nyatoti also revealed these losses were pushing council to seriously consider introducing of prepaid meters as a measure of plugging losses caused by dilapidated meters.

“Council is actively pursuing that (pre-paid meters) as it is an option we are looking at as there are inherent benefits in terms of consumption management,” he said.

Source : New Zimbabwe