Rethinking water service delivery system in Zimbabwe: a case study of Kwekwe municipality

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University of Fort Hare


This study examines the perceived scarcity of household water service delivery in the city of Kwekwe under the Midlands province of Zimbabwe. Kwekwe Municipality appears to be characterized by an erratic supply of clean water for household use. The city of Kwekwe has experienced an unreliable domestic water service delivery system since the beginning of this millennium. This study aims to investigate the causes of the problem, its extent, impact and what could be done to mitigate the problem. The study employs interviews, questionnaires, observations and document analyses to establish that population growth, ageing equipment, a lack of foreign currency and local funding, as well as a lack of expertise and of political will have contributed to the poor domestic water supply in the city of Kwekwe. The city of Kwekwe needs to commit itself to improving the current situation by involving the community, constructing more storage facilities, and by putting monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in place. The research design took the form of a case study of Kwekwe Municipality. A mixture of qualitative and quantitative research designs were used in this study. The qualitative/interpretivist approach was more dominant, allowing some overlapping with the quantitative/positivist paradigm whenever this was considered reasonable. The study sample consisted of a conveniently assembled sample of 120 respondents. The target population for the study comprised of 110 residents of Kwekwe urban and 10 Kwekwe City Municipality Water Authorities from the Works Department. This study focuses on the 4 residential areas of Kwekwe Municipality. The data collection instruments include questionnaires and focus group interviews. Electronically recorded, in-depth interviews were held with the water authorities and the consumers to establish their perceptions on the best practice of the water service delivery system in Zimbabwe. The data collection tools contained a preliminary section on the biological data of the respondents. All data was subjected to either qualitative or quantitative analysis techniques in order to strike a balance between the structured survey instruments and the anecdotes of the respondents. Quantitative data was analyzed using a Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), while qualitative data was subjected to document analysis which entailed classifying the data, extracting themes, identifying patterns, tallying and quantifying responses and making generalizations out of these patterns. This implies that the research methodology focused on the method, tools and techniques used to assist in achieving the objectives of the study and answering the research questions that the research seeks to address. The term research methodology is used, in this study, to refer to the philosophical assumptions, values, and theories which inform and underpin the way in which a particular research method is used. In this study, the case study research design was used as the operational framework for data gathering. The case study research method is essentially grounded in the interpretive research paradigm. To this end, the study sought the perceptions of both the consumers and the water authorities. The major finding of the study is that the ability of Kwekwe Municipality to provide household water service delivery to its consumers is slightly below average. However, there was a slight improvement in the household water service delivery but consumers are still remaining dissatisfied. Another finding, related to this one, was that the electricity deficiency cost the efficacy of Kwekwe Municipality in its provision of household water service delivery. The study proposes that more studies which seek to interrogate the domestic water service delivery system of the Zimbabwean Municipalities should be embarked upon by the state. The study also recommends that service delivery training programmes be implemented in order to enhance the competence of the water authorities. Furthermore, the study suggests that consumers be placed at the center of household water debates when policies, rules and regulations of the water service delivery system are formulated. Finally, the study implores that municipalities need to have their own reserves and generators for emergency cases during electricity power cuts. It is imperative that the water reservoirs constantly hold 4 days‟ worth of water capacity. The municipality of Kwekwe must refurbish the entire water reticulation system. Municipalities must carry out an audit of water meter readings and also confirm that all water meters are functional. Manpower to read the correct meter reading should be increased in number and must have reliable transport.



Municipal services -- Zimbabwe, Municipal water supply -- Zimbabwe, Water utilities -- Zimbabwe, Local government -- Zimbabwe, Public administration