Source: Drink tap water at own risk: Mayor – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 30, 2017
By Tinotenda Munyukwi
HARARE mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has warned residents that it is now too risky to drink council tap water, as the local authority was pumping out partially treated water after running out of treatment chemicals over the past few weeks due to shortage of foreign currency.
Addressing stakeholders on the quality of water in the capital yesterday, Manyenyeni admitted that council had failed to secure adequate chemicals required in the water purification process due to the unavailability of foreign currency, hence the dirty water coming out of taps.
“Our claims that the water is chemically safe to drink will not hold if the residents cannot stand the sight of frothing or foaming, coloured water.
“This has been caused by the shortage of our main chemicals aluminium sulphate, sulphuric acid, HTH chlorine and activated carbon. Almost all our chemicals are imported and we have been caught in the crisis of forex,” Manyenyeni said.
He encouraged caution on the drinking of tap water until the situation has improved, assuring residents that council was doing its best to rectify the problem.
“We apologise and request our consumers to exercise caution until such a time total quality is assured. We do this out of caution and shared responsibility with our consumers,” Manyenyeni said.
Angry residents, who were in attendance, had with them dirty samples of the water they were receiving in their respective areas and demanded an explanation on why their tap water was visibly dirtier than river water.
But Manyenyeni said: “We also suffer from the issue of having to pollute our raw water upstream then harvest it downstream when its quality is at its poorest. We need seven chemicals (to treat our water), when other councils can get quality water with just two chemicals.”
The water situation in Harare has deteriorated since 2013, with some suburbs running for years without running water, while in other areas residents received dirty and smelly water.
Although supplies had improved in most suburbs following the refurbishment of the Morton Jaffray Waterworks plant at Lake Chivero on the back of a $144 million loan facility from China Export and Import Bank, the quality of water remains cause for concern for the city’s estimated four million residents.
This also came amid reports that private boreholes in the city were pumping contaminated water.