The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) has increased tariffs for the Mtshabezi Dam raw water by close to 2 000 percent in a development likely to trigger an resultant hike in Bulawayo city council water charges.
Bulawayo City Council currently draws its water from the government owned Mtshabezi dam as well as from Insiza and Inyankuni dams.
Council has so far decommissioned three of its dams namely Lower Ncema, Umzingwane and Upper Ncema because the water sources have run off water.
According to latest council minutes, ZINWA has increased the water charges from 29 cents per kilolitre to $6, 18 per kilolitre.
"Please be advised that the raw water tariff for Mtshabezi water will be reviewed to $6, 18 per kilolitre. This has been necessitated by the general increase in prices with particular reference to electricity and spares for repairs and maintenance.
"The tariff will be reviewed after three months, if there are substantial movements of prices of critical inputs," reads a letter from Zinwa.
According to the minutes, the local authority has also tasked its financial services department to evaluate the implications of the increase to the city's water costing formula.
"When council supplies water to ZINWA, it would have added value to it such as treating and pumping. Thus, council's value addition should be over and above the cost of purchasing raw water. This talks to the need for council to review all its tariffs as costs keep increasing," further stated the council minutes.
The city has upped its weekly water shedding hours from 120 to 144 hours in a move which has seen some residents going for days without running water as the city takes drastic measures to conserve the remaining water in the city's dams.