Source: Water crisis looms as chemicals stuck at border | The Herald 12 SEP, 2019
Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent
A water shortage is looming for Harare residents and those in the city’s satellite towns, as supplies are going to be slashed significantly from today due to a lack of water treatment chemicals.
The residents are set to start getting 100 megalitres per day against a demand of 1 200 megalitres.
The council has been pumping 300 megalitres daily, with only half of that reaching residents, while the rest is lost along the distribution network.
City of Harare’s water distribution manager Engineer Tapiwa Kunyadini yesterday said from today the city will reduce pumping capacity to 200 megalitres, of which half will also be lost along the way.
“Our water treatment capacity at Morton Jefrray is 614 megalitres and Prince Edward is 90 megalitres, but we have only been treating 300 megalitres and zero respectively,” he said.
“Starting tomorrow (today) we will only manage to supply 200 megalitres of water, including more than half that is lost along the distribution network. Trucks that were supposed to deliver treatment chemicals have been stuck at the border over the past four days.”
Eng Kunyadini was speaking while addressing water stakeholders in Harare during a workshop organised by the Combined Harare Residents’ Association and Actalliance.
The Prince Edward plant was decommissioned after dams supplying it dried up.
“The reason why we are losing between 50 percent to 60 percent of our treated water is due to our dilapidated infrastructure,” said Eng Kunyadini. “Pipes in one of the city’s oldest low-density suburbs, Avondale, have not been replaced up to now,” he said.
Eng Kunyadini said the council’s proposed plan was to increase water supply to at least 430 megalitres by next year but it will still be short of the average demand of 600 megalitres per day.
Speaking at the same forum, Harare Deputy Mayor Enock Mupamawonde said the city was spending about $30 million on chemicals every month.
He emphasised the need to declare the city’s water woes a state of national disaster.
Cllr Mupamawonde said council was for now prioritising drilling more boreholes and purchasing water bowers to ease the water challenges.
CHRA community officer Mr Reuben Akili said the water woes bedevilling Harare were largely a result of mismanagement following a series of grants that have been abused in the past, including the US$144 million grant from China.
“Some of the problems are merely council’s mismanagement issues,” he said. “At one point, council awarded a tender to a briefcase company. Council loans and grants have been channelled, but they are not bringing water to taps.”
Community Water Alliance (CWA) director Mr Hardlife Mudzingwa said there should be national taskforce on water to address the crisis in a holistic manner.
There were also calls for satellite towns, including Chitungwiza and Epworth, to have their own water treatment plants to ease the burden on Harare.