Local authorities are unable to offer free water amounting to 6 000 litres per family monthly because of overcrowding at urban properties, Urban Councils Association president and Masvingo Mayor Femias Chakabuda has said. Water Resources Development and Management Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo announced recently that residents of cities and towns should not pay water charges for the first six cubic metres per month.
He justified the policy saying water was a basic human right used for cooking, drinking, washing and personal hygiene. A 200-litre drum was found to be adequate per day for a family of six.
But Clr Chakabuda said Minister Nkomo needed to be educated on the situation on the ground.
"We respect what Minister Nkomo is saying but we want to advise the Minister to be informed of the situation on the ground," he said.
He said the majority of urban properties in high density areas that are entitled to the benefit were designed for a family of six. Because of housing problems up to four families now share a single property.
"There is no way we can give four families free water per each housing property," he said.