Erratic water supplies derail industries’ production capacity

As water service provision continues to dog most water utilities, local industries have been forced to push up their costs of doing business.

The country’s water supplies have been on the decline from 2005, since then the problem has been persistent.

Against these inconvenient water provisions, companies have been forced to up their costs of doing business as they are forced to purchase supplementary water from bulk suppliers as well as relying on boreholes.

Delta Beverages is one of the many companies caught in the water dilemma. As a result of the failure by local authorities to provide improved access to water supply the company has been forced to supplement with borehole water.

“We rely to a large extend on supplies of water from the local authorities and supplement with borehole water said,” Alex Makamure the company’s secretary.

Fetching supplementary water from boreholes obviously comes with a cost attached to it.

The water supply plant and equipment is now aged with most of it having outlived its economic lifespan. Breakdowns are, therefore, frequent and the long downtime periods lead to reduced throughput.

“Such disruptions to supplies impact on our production capacity and add costs to the value chain,” revealed Makamure.

The company which dominates all sectors of the cold beverage market in Zimbabwe intends to install water reservoirs to carry buffer stocks and some reliance on boreholes.

Makamure called on all stakeholders to address the problems of water shortages.

“It is noted that there are further challenges with underground water due to the high levels of pollution to the water bodies in most urban areas. There is need for the stakeholders to address the issues related to management of industrial and domestic waste and effluent,” he said.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) President Charles Msipa echoed the above sentiments when he said that water shortages have significantly contributed to the country’s declining manufacturing capacity utilisation.

“Erratic water supply reduces production as most companies rely on water. At the same time while production is on a standstill because of water shortages, workers are expected to be paid,” said Msipa.

Janet Zhou, the Programs Director of Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) said erratic water supply hinders development.

“Water has no alternative be it at household or for industries. When there is no water production is halted hence affecting production.

She said that water supplies are caused by a cocktail of challenges emanating from no clear harmonised water policy.

While Harare city council says prepaid water metres will be a solution to the erratic water supplies has a different perspective.

“Pre- paid water meters are not the solution to the water woes, the supply side and the distribution of water is the problem,” she said.