Harare has resumed drawing water from Manyame Dam following the intervention of President Emmerson Mnangagwa into the capital city’s water crisis, which has seen some areas enduring months without running water.
Harare City Council traditionally complemented its water supplies from Lake Chivero with that from Manyame Dam, but stopped pumping from the latter 10 years ago after a lift pump at Morton Jaffray Waterworks broke down
The breakdown rendered the infrastructure idle resulting in more pump breakdowns, over years, at the source —Manyame Dam.
Last month, President Mnangagwa toured Morton Jaffray Waterworks, to get a first-hand appreciation of the water crisis in the capital, and advised Harare City Council to consider drawing water downstream.
Treasury subsequently released US$9,3 million for urgent works at Manyame Dam after technical experts deemed the option feasible.
The Sunday Mail has gathered that 50 percent of the capital city’s water is now coming from Manyame Dam.
However, Harare City Council says water flow to consumers is expected to improve in the next two weeks upon completion of some refurbishments at Morton Jaffray Waterworks.
The local authority is understood to be working on upgrading pumps at Manyame Dam to ensure at least 80 percent of the city’s water is drawn from there.
Harare has been relying on the heavily polluted Lake Chivero as its water source. The water needs a cocktail of at least nine chemicals to purify.
Minister of Local Government and Public Works July Moyo said Government was monitoring works at Warren Control Pump Station to ensure an increase in raw water being pumped from Manyame.
“At the moment we are working with Harare City Council to ensure that the current water shortages are dealt with,” he said.
“We want the local authority to utilise all available resources. We are now working on ordering pumps so that work is done at Warren Control and at the dam (Manyame.)
“We are also working on sewer reticulation, so that we address the pollution side.”
Harare acting corporate communications manager Mr Innocent Ruwende said although pumping of water had started at Manyame Dam, work was still underway for the upgrading of pumps at the water source.
“Harare started pumping raw water soon after the President‘s visit to Morton Jaffray and currently we are pumping 50 percent of the water from Darwendale (Manyame Dam) while the rest is coming from Lake Chivero,” he said.
“There was an underground canal that has always been there and that is the one that we are using.
“The lift pump at Morton Jaffray broke down some 10 years ago that is why we stopped getting water from Manyame Dam. But it has been repaired and pumping has resumed.
“However, there are some pipe and pump upgrading that we are working on to ensure the water pumped is increased from the current 50 percent to about 80 percent.”
“We are using almost the same chemicals to treat water from Darwendale and Lake Chivero. We use up to nine chemicals and it is only aluminium sulphate dose that decreases as the Darwendale raw water percentage is increased in the mixture.”
Government recently intervened with capital and technical advice to enable the local authority to procure water treatment chemicals as part of interim measures to deal with the capital’s water woes.
Harare is currently conducting chemical tests to substitute chlorine compound and reduce the number of water purifiers from nine to less than four.
The local authority uses an estimated US$2,5 million in water treatment costs.
Earlier this year, the Environment Management Authority (EMA) identified City of Harare as the main polluter of Lake Chivero – the city’s major water source – through discharging raw sewage.