City mulls new water plant

Source: City mulls new water plant | The Herald January 29, 2019

City mulls new water plantClr Gomba

Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
The Harare City Council is set to construct a new wastewater treatment plant in Mabvuku to ease pressure on its existing plants which are overloaded resulting in numerous blockages.

Speaking at a Water Conference convened by Water Alliance, acting Harare Water director Eng Mabhena Moyo said the increase in Harare’s population required new treatment plants because the existing ones could only cater for a given population.

“Our treatment plants are currently overloaded and we need to build additional plants to ease the pressure. On average, 21 tonnes of sand are extracted from our wastewater treatment plants. This is because residents are using sand as scouring material,” he said.

“The sand is blocking our reticulation system. We receive at least 120 complaints of sewer chokes every day. The treatment plants are also overloaded resulting in a deficit of 200 megalitres of unprocessed sewage in the system per day,” he said.

Harare Mayor Councillor Herbert Gomba said Harare’s main water source, Lake Chivero, was heavily polluted largely through human action.

“Lake Chivero should have been decommissioned a long time ago but we are still using it because there is no other source of water. It is safe to say that the water situation in the city is on its knees and needs to be addressed immediately,” he said.

He said the problems of water in Harare also stem from the destruction of wetlands through construction and cultivation activities.

He urged residents to stop settling on wetlands.

“I am also urging the politicians to desist from encouraging people to settle on wetlands. It is causing major problems at the lake which will result in less water for the city,” he said.

“When people are told to move from wetlands they come to council and demand that we give them land elsewhere because it is enshrined in the Constitution yet their actions would have been illegal. We want some of those provisions to be revised because they make the work of local authorities difficult as we have to protect people who have committed crimes.”

Community Water Alliance programmes manager Mr Hardlife Mudzingwa criticised council for using estimates when billing ratepayers for water.

He said council was overestimating water usage resulting in ratepayers refusing to pay for water.

“The billing system is old and needs a revamp. We cannot continue emphasising that matter. Until then people will continue not honouring their debts,” he said.

He said other challenges being faced were non-revenue water, poor water quality, arbitrary water disconnections and pollution of water bodies.