Helen Kadirire 8 June 2017
HARARE – In more depressing news for Harare residents , the city council
has warned that it will continue to cut water supplies even after it
completes the refurbishment of its biggest water treatment plant – Morton
Jaffray (MJ) – which is expected to increase supplies to both industry and
This comes as the refurbishment of MJ has been extended by a further nine
months due to a funding crisis.
Briefing journalists during the tour of MJ this week, Harare City Council
(HCC) director of water Hosea Chisango said the rationing regime would
continue until pipe replacements have been done – several months after the
refurbishment of the water treatment plant.
“By year-end, we anticipate to produce 620 megalitres for Harare.
“We expect it to cover at least 85 percent of the population but we will
still have water rationing while other areas will go back to daily supply.
“Going forward, we first want to replace the pipes and reduce losses, then
later explore new sources of water.
“We need to replace pipes that are already on the ground if we are to
bring Kunzvi Dam into Harare’s plans because without that, we will simply
lose the water. Our losses are 65 percent, which includes physical losses
and non-functional meters,” Chisango told journalists.
“From the 5 500 kilometres (km) of pipe network, if we can deal with
between 2 500km and 3 000km, then we would have a system that has
“What we want is to reduce the losses to 20 percent. After we have done
replacement, we will require a leak detection system in our network,” he
Harare Water supplies potable water to Harare and the surrounding local
authorities of Chitungwiza, Epworth, Ruwa and Norton town councils with a
combined estimated total population of about 4,5 million people.
The Harare water supply infrastructure was originally designed to supply
350 000 people.
The infrastructure was upgraded progressively with the last phase
commissioned in 1994 to supply 1,5 million people.
There has not been any upgrading of the infrastructure since the last
phase of MJ.
Chisango said the bottleneck remained work that still needed to be done on
Warren Control Pump Station. Harare extracts raw water from four
impoundments on the Manyame River.
These are Harava and Seke dams which supply Prince Edward (Seke) Treatment
Works, and Chivero and Manyame dams which supply MJ (Manyame) Treatment
HCC expects a fully-refurbished MJ to reduce physical water losses by 72
million litres per day, increase the city’s supply coverage to 72 000
households, reduce non-revenue water by 25 percent and increase revenue by
about $21,6 million a year.
The city fathers have been battling a serious water crisis for years now
due to old infrastructure, which has seen the council failing to meet
residents’ full demands.
HCC requires a total of 800 megalitres a day to meet its demand, but the
city is currently only able to pump 450 megalitres, prompting authorities
to introduce water rations in many areas.
As one of its measures to have a grip on the water crisis, HCC is mulling
a full-scale roll-out of water inflow limiters, to compel residents to
conserve the scarce resource.
Apart from refurbishing MJ and Prince Edward water works, HCC also
requires $178 million to fund its water pipe replacement and network
rehabilitation exercise, to avoid losses due to burst pipes and illegal
Harare city has a distribution network of 5 500 kilometres of pipe
network, which is linked to 15 booster pump stations, 28 reservoir sites
and 200 000 customer connection points.
The city is fighting its worst water crisis in history, as thousands of
households have spent almost 18 years without water due to broken and
antiquated equipment and infrastructure.