Helen Kadirire 20 November 2017
HARARE – Since Friday Harare City Council’s (HCC) major water treatment
works, Morton Jaffray has not had any electricity leaving many suburbs
without the precious liquid.
This comes as the city is still battling with containing a typhoid
outbreak that broke out for a second time this year in Mbare.
Harare’s distribution network has 15 booster pump stations and 28 storage
reservoirs with a total capacity of 850 000 cubic metres.
“There has been no electricity at Morton Jaffray Water Treatment works
from around midday on Friday. We are therefore not treating any water at
the moment; this means that the water in the reservoirs is being used
“Residents may experience water shortages in some areas. We urge residents
and some commercial properties occupants to ensure that all their taps are
switched off so that when supplies are restored no water is lost,” HCC
spokesperson Michael Chideme said.
Adding that they are working to get the problem rectified as no water is
being replaced in the city’s reservoirs.
Lately, the city has been struggling with pumping clean water as they have
run short of chemicals which are used in the treatment of algae.
As a result of the chemical shortages, council has been pumping
greenish-brown water to ratepayers.
During a rapid results review workshop council representative Agnes Masuku
said the lack of chemicals was because the city could not access foreign
currency as they are bought outside the country.
She said council would have to engage the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to
prioritise the release of foreign currency for procurement of water
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has, however, assured residents that while
the water does not meet the basic standards in sight and smell, it is
still safe to drink according to World Health Organisation regulations.
Currently, Harare uses $3 million to purchase seven different water
treatment chemicals from China, South Africa and Zambia.
Sulphuric acid, chlorine gas and sodium silicate come from South Africa,
activated carbon and aluminium sulphate from China, hydrated lime is
brought in from Zambia and South Africa while HTH is imported from China
and South Africa.
Apart from the water quality, the distribution network is also outdated
with some of the pipework now over 60 years and prone to leakages due to
movements as they are mostly made of rigid asbestos material.
According to the city, prevalence of burst pipes increases during the
rainy season when soils expand and also just after the rains when the
ground dries and begins to contract.
The aged distribution network status contributes to about 60 percent of
non-revenue water the city is currently losing.