Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » The Bane of Illegal Connections

The continued growth and development of towns and cities in Zimbabwe is a positive development that has, however, culminated in growing demand for water raising fears that demand is gradually outstripping supply. Notwithstanding the above scenario, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), along with local authorities, has the mandate to ensure that there is adequate supply of water in Zimbabwe.

The importance of water to human life cannot be over- emphasised and therefore the link between urbanisation and water demand is only natural. Nevertheless, it is important for the public to respect the mandatory processes that they must follow before their households can be serviced with water so as to safeguard orderly upkeep and regulation of water management records which are useful in decision making and policy formulation.

Sadly, the Authority’s endeavour to establish and maintain accurate database relevant to water management has persistently been sabotaged by unscrupulous elements in society who connect themselves to reticulation pipes without following the proper procedure thus using water illegally.

Needless to say, the public must remember that, where the Authority is responsible for the treatment and reticulation of water, any use of water that is not preceded by formal engagement between ZINWA and the prospective consumer is illegal.

Further, people must also recall that only authorised personnel from ZINWA have the mandate to carry out any new connection.

It is also vital to highlight that the law empowers only authorised personnel from either ZINWA or local authorities, depending on the city or town in which water is to be connected, to handle water infrastructure, not least reticulation pipes.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon law enforcement agencies to complement the Authority’s efforts to stamp out lawlessness in water management by arresting perpetrators of illegal water connections.

Furthermore, the problem of illegal use of water is not peculiar to consumers of treated water.

It is also common in the groundwater section with some groundwater consumers having the tendency to abstract ground- water without going through the registration process as required by the law. In the same way consumers of treated water must approach the Authority before they can have their households connected, so should ground- water consumers seek approval from ZINWA before sinking any borehole.

These illegal connections have prejudiced the Authority of hundreds of thousands of dollars, something which severely compromises service delivery.

The Authority has also of late been confronted with situations where people disconnected for non-payment of bills also illegally reconnect themselves to the system.

ZINWA therefore wishes to remind such people that their actions are in violation of the law and constitute a criminal offence. Some people caught after illegally connecting themselves have been brought before the courts where they were fined or imprisoned upon conviction. The Authority therefore continues to appeal to indebted consumers to make contingency plans to retire their debts.

Whilst ZINWA is agreeable to the fact that water is a human right, the Authority calls upon consumers to understand that unregulated utilisation of water poses serious dangers to water resources and also remember that it is only through disciplined regulation of water utilisation that water resources can be properly managed for the benefit of both current and future generations.

The ZINWA Act (Chapter 20:26) clearly stipulates that the Authority must consistently undertake research studies and develop databases around which water policies would be built. However, although such exercises are indisputably necessary for the long-term planning, development and exploitation of water resources, it is disappointing that besides the obvious financial cost incurred as a result of free usage of water by unregistered consumers, illegal connections continue to create serious distortions which impact negatively on the Authority’s capacity to gather precise information relevant to the water situation in the country and also maintain accurate databases.

For more information please contact the ZINWA Corporate Communications and Marketing Department on pr@zinwa.co.zw ltmailto:pr@zinwa.co.zwgt or visit www.zinwa.co.zw lthttp:www.zinwa.co.zwgt. You can also like our Facebook page.

Source : The Herald

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