Tackling non-revenue water (NRW) and drought-related issues


Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa which in 1998 established hydrological zones within the country called catchments. Each catchment is managed by a catchment council and overseen by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA). The urban district of Ruwa, a suburb of the capital Harare with a population of about 120,000, falls within the Manyame Catchment. Water and sanitation services are managed here by the local board. In Ruwa, a total of 24,840 households are connected to the water supply. The city of Harare supplies 2000 m3/day, while the remaining water comes from local sources.


In Zimbabwe, the percentage of the population using safely managed drinking water services has declined over the last 20 years, from 79 percent of the population with safe water access in 1990 to 77 percent in 2015. Access to sanitation has faced a similar decline, from 67 percent in 1990 to 63 percent in 2015.

One of the largest problems facing the Ruwa Local Board is non-revenue water (NRW). NRW is very high in the area, averaging approximately 36 percent across its service area. There are a number of factors responsible, but chief among them are aging water and sewer infrastructure resulting in water leaks and non-functioning household meters that prevent the board from accurately billing customers for water they consume.


ROCKBlue began a partnership with the Ruwa local water board in late 2018 to advise and assist the utility with durable solutions to its non-revenue water (NRW) and other pressing issues.


ROCKBlue’s partnership with the Ruwa Local Board started in late 2018. In 2019 with ROCKBlue’s support, Ruwa identified two objectives: 1) Increase water supply as an alternative to supply from Harare, and 2) extend 24/7 water supply to its customers. Unfortunately, a major drought in 2020 and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the board to shift its primary focus to providing enough water to fulfill the community’s needs.

To augment available supply, Ruwa drilled seven new boreholes and are planning to add an additional 10 boreholes by the end of 2021. ROCKBlue is currently supporting Ruwa’s performance improvement objectives, include the goal of reducing NRW by 5 percent, increasing revenue collection by 45 percent, improving customers relations by responding to customer complaints within 24 hours and developing a capital investment plan to sustain water supply.




A Long-term approach to providing durable water solutions.



Improving water service delivery and financial performance.



Facing challenges with durable solutions for capacity building.

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