Helen Kadirire 20 May 2017
HARARE – Harare’s water crisis is set to continue for much longer, after
the City Council (HCC) missed the deadline for the refurbishment of its
biggest water treatment plant – Morton Jaffray – which has now been
extended by nine more months due to a funding crisis.
This comes as most suburbs and companies in the perennially thirsty
capital city are set to endure yet another dry weekend, as city fathers
carry out another one of their familiar “maintenance works”, this time at
the Warren Control station.
Initially, HCC had anticipated that the refurbishment of the Morton
Jaffray works would be completed at the end of last March.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, HCC director for
water, Hosea Chisango, confirmed that the completion of Morton Jaffray had
been delayed by delays in the disbursement of funds.
“Though the works that are left are small, we have given the contractor
until December this year to complete the whole refurbishment of MJ (Morton
“What we want is for MJ to be completed, and then we can look at other
treatment works, such as Warren Control.
“The delays were because there was a time when the contractor stopped
working due to disbursement delays. The money has not yet been released,
but we are going ahead with work.
“We, however, expect the work to be completed by August or September, and
those works that were done manually should be automated by then also,”
Chisango told the Daily News.
“We decided that for now our priority should be the completion of MJ,
before we can start with the small plants, since it is the main treatment
works,” he added.
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said the city could only guarantee an
increase in water supply when Morton Jaffray was commissioned.
“However, our distribution network needs a lot of work because it is
“Harare water is a huge problem because we are dealing with an
infrastructure deficit of between 30 and 40 years, which we are trying to
catch up to. Unfortunately that cannot be done in one year,” Manyenyeni
HCC expects a fully-refurbished MJ to reduce physical water losses by 72
million litres per day, increase the city’s supply coverage to 72 000
households, reduce non-revenue water by 25 percent and increase revenue by
about $21,6 million a year.
The city fathers have been battling a serious water crisis for years now
due to old infrastructure, which has seen the council failing to meet
residents’ full demand.
HCC requires a total of 800 mega litres a day to meet its demand, but the
city is currently only able to pump 450 mega litres, prompting authorities
to introduce water rations in many areas.
As one of its measures to have a grip on the water crisis, HCC is mulling
a full-scale roll-out of water inflow limiters, to compel residents to
conserve the scarce resource.
Apart from refurbishing Morton Jaffray and Prince Edward water works, HCC
also requires $178 million to fund its water pipe replacement and network
rehabilitation exercise, to avoid losses due to burst pipes and illegal
Harare city has a distribution network of 5 500 kilometres of pipe
network, which is linked to 15 booster pump stations, 28 reservoir sites
and 200 000 customer connection points.
Meanwhile, many households and companies will again have dry taps this
weekend, after the council said it was shutting down Warren Control from
yesterday until tomorrow, to enable maintenance works.
The maintenance works will affect Msasa, Hatfield, Greendale, Workington,
Graniteside, Mabvuku and Tafara, HCC said in a notice yesterday.
The city is fighting its worst water crisis in history, as thousands of
households have spent almost 18 years without water due to broken and
antiquated equipment and infrastructure.