Harare Water & Sanitation Situation Deteriorates Further…Mayor Blames Politics

DEMAND for  clean and safe water has surged in Harare, surrounding smaller towns and local authorities, resulting in the City struggling to sustain the daily water demand of 1,200 Megaliters of Water against a daily water production capacity of 340 Megaliters.

By Michael Gwarisa

This also comes amidst indications that towns like Chitungwiza, Ruwa local authority and places such as Epworth still rely on Harare water for sustenance. The failure by council to provide adequate water has led to residents in Harare and surrounding areas sinking shallow wells and boreholes as alternative sources of water, in the process exposing residents to water-bone and Diarrhoeal diseases.

Speaking during a virtual meeting on Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) In Zimbabwe’s Urban Areas that was hosted by the Media Centre, Hardlife Mudzingwa, the Community Water Alliance said Harare was generating far below the daily demand and 35% of the water was being lost to leakages.

The City of Harare is generating 340 megaliters of water on a daily basis and this is despite the fact that demand currently stands at 1200 megaliters. From these 340 megaliters, you find that only 20 Mega liters gets to residents because 35% is being lost to leakages,” said Mudzingwa.

He added that due to urban expansion and the growing demand for housing, even Kunzvi dam which is set for construction soon and lack Chivero combined might not resolve the current water crises as demand was increasing on a daily basis.

“You find that Kunzvi will be producing and generating only 250 megaliters and Harare is currently on 340. Combined, both their capacities still fall short of the 1200 so we still have a long way to go in terms addressing the water crises.

“What Zimbabwe needs right now is a water budget, one that addresses the both the 
immediate needs and those the future in as far as WASH is concerned. We don’t need
to be reacting only when a Cholera or Typhoid outbreak happens, the time to act is
now.”

Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST) Director, Alice Kuvheya said bad Chitungwiza is yet to have a dam or water infracture of its own besides being the third largest and fastest growing urban center in Zimbabwe with over 500,000 residents.

“The situation in Chitungwiza has been intensified by a dilapidated water supply infrastructure that for the past three and so decades has lacked investment. The involvement of the central government through the ministry of local government and retrogressive policies has also contributed to water services failure in Chitungziwa.

“Chitungwiza water system needs immediate investment but it would be necessary to investigate both the system failure and governance issues to ensure that the right approach and address to the problem is used. The water situation in Chitungwiza for the past two decades reflects a retrogressive development process in Zimbabwe that’s revealed through deteriorating services and livelihoods across the country. The recent rapid organization and population grown has resulted in water supply services in Chitungwiza failing to keep up pace,” said Kuvheya.

She added that Chitungwiza residents had lost faith in the council’s capacity to deliver water and as a result, they had stopped paying water and council bills in protest. This has however led to Chitungwiza municipality failing to mobilise resources needed for meaningful water development projects and upgrade of the system.

Meanwhile, Harare Mayor, Councilor Jacob Mafume has blamed the removal of elected councilors from their posts and the interference of Central government in the affairs of the city for the sad state of affairs with regards to water management and production.

“The first fundamental issue is that are the elected representatives running Harare? That is the issue that people have to be concerned with. People are seeking accountability from people who are not running Harare. The question are the elected representatives in Harare and all the urban areas in this county running the state of affairs?

“I would argue that they are not. We have not dealt with the framework of devolution. We have not dealt with the issues of having what type of mayor we want. We expect executive accountability from a ceremonial mayor. Accountability has been given to a non-elected town clerk on the assumption that he is an expert, we forget that these cities were not built by heroic experts, these cities were built by settlers and ZJC people who managed to build the cities from scratch,” said Cllr Mafume.

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