GOVERNMENT has directed power utility, ZESA to spare water pumping stations of the current power outages in order to avoid a health related disaster in the country's urban areas.
This was revealed by Local Government Minister July Moyo this past week while responding to questions from MPs on what government was doing to alleviate water shortages arising from power outages.
"Yes, there has been water shortages because of electricity outages in pumping stations in most of our urban areas," Moyo said.
"Two weeks ago, we agreed with the Minister of Energy and Power Development, and we were given all the pumping stations throughout the country which include those run by ZINWA, some which are run by local authorities, that these pumping stations for water as well as for sewerage should not experience these power cuts because it is both a health hazard as well as a need for people to have water.
However, it has turned out that ZESA has defiantly cut off local authorities from any electricity supplies.
Minister Moyo said it government was ill-equipped to "micro-manage" systems to ensure ZESA did not cut off the local authorities from any power supplies.
"... While I can assure this august House that we have done everything in order to make sure that water pumping systems are not cut off from ZESA, we cannot then micro-manage and know whether ZESA has cut off on this one or the other one," he said.
The Minister said local authorities were putting the power supplier in a difficult position as some of them were still owing ZESA in terms of unpaid bills.
"There is another ongoing discussion which we are having with the Minister of Energy and Power Development about the indebtedness of most of our urban local authorities which is necessitating ZESA to cut them off and we are saying let us discuss this.
"We are arranging a meeting so that we can discuss with all the urban local authorities, but for those who need to pump, we think that the arrangements that we have made should suffice for now."
The current power crisis, the worst in recent years, has seen industry either scale down on production hours or close completely as both households and businesses are forced to endure 18 hour load shedding schedules daily.