The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works (MLGPW), in collaboration with GIZ, a technical cooperation agency of the Germany Government will be conducting a training programme aimed at building the technical capacity of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) members in the field of water transport and distribution.

The programme is an 18-week online course targeting the Engineers and technical staff directly responsible for water supply in local authorities. Each local authority is allowed one participant. The programme will run from 14 September 2020 to 15 January 2021. The MLGPW-GIZ cooperation programme is supporting the online course to the tune of 1 035 Euros per participant. A total of 31 participants from 31 UCAZ members are expected to participate.

According to GIZ’s Technical Advisor Eng Ewen Findlay, the course is expected to contribute towards improving the operational capacity of the engineering departments in two main areas which are water demand planning and water loss management and control.

“These skills will assist in the planning, implementation and assessment of the proposed annual water audits by MLGPW across the local authorities and prioritisation of associated water infrastructure proposals,” said Eng Findlay.

The MLGPW intends to conduct annual water audits in all urban local authorities.

Chairperson of UCAZ’s Engineers’ Forum, Eng Simela Dube who is also Director of Engineering Services for the City of Bulawayo said that his forum appreciated the intervention by government and GIZ by coming up with the training programme on water transport and distribution for local authorities.

“With the country’s non-revenue water (NRW) averaging 46%, this intervention will assist in improving the performance of local authorities in managing NRW. While the course is focusing on engineers at this stage, it is our belief that this will in future include financial managers and other related professionals as the issue on NRW is not purely engineering. It needs funding asset management  strategies which require appreciation by the whole council structure inclusive of policymakers. We take this as just the beginning of the long walk,” said Eng Dube.