Water woes a result of govt’s bungling

THE water crisis in the northern suburbs has now deteriorated into a critical state with some homes, particularly in Glen Lorne, having no water for as much as 21 days.



serif”>Under the circumstances, any political party using this situation for political gain is despicable. The problem is not of recent origin but can be traced back over a minimum of some 15 years of poor maintenance which has culminated in the collpase of the water supply system.


The blame lies on municipal planning — both previous and current — and indirectly on the government department responsible.


The areas which include Glen Lorne, Kambanji and Borrowdale Brooke were initially the most hard hit. Hatcliffe has also suffered severely.


In all these areas, extensive building has occurred over the past 10 or so years and is, indeed continuing in areas where upmarket residences have been erected but with no pools.


When development of new areas is contemplated, municipal planning departments should liaise to ensure that adequate water and other essential services are in place prior to approving plans and allowing building to commence.


The previous municipalities appear to have neglected doing so and continued to approve building plans without first ensuring that there were sufficient resources to sustain the new areas without compromising services to existing suburbs.


Northern suburbs such as Chisipite, Greendale and Borrowdale now face water shortages because of developments underway in other areas.

Insufficient planning has been evident in the face of the large increase in the population of Harare and its needs which should have been reviewed on a yearly basis.


An urgent necessity is the building of a new reservoir/pumping station on high ground in Glen Lorne to supply the new areas, plus the updating of existing main pipes. This would enable the existing infrastructure to resume full supplies to Chisipite and other established suburbs.


The Greendale reservoir and pumping station is not only insufficient to supply the northern areas affected, but is said to be in a poor state of repair.

The existing water pumps were adequate many years ago and could run for eight hours per day. Now the worn-out pumps are pumping 24 hours per day and cannot cope.


It is little wonder that age and over-use results in continual failure and urgent need of replacement, not patching up. Under the existing crisis there is a health time-bomb waiting to explode in the name of cholera and other diseases — not easy for the hard-pressed health services to cope with.


In Glen Lorne, the Umwinzi River is the lifeline for many employees and their families who can be seen bathing, washing their clothes and collecting water for their daily needs — to which they are entitled.


As toilets cannot be flushed another health hazard exists. Affected residents in the northern area have tried to install water tanks to ensure water supplies to avert a looming crisis. These tanks work on a pressure basis and when pressure is high the tanks fill up and when pressure is low the residents get supplies.


However, as pressure is higher closer to the pumping station following sporadic resumption of water supplies, tanks there will possibly fill up first, whilst homes at the end of the line will receive poor, or no water supplies — yet another problem.


The municipality claims that there is no money to rectify the water problem as many residents are unable to pay their rates and water charges. It is noted that they still continue to bill residents for non-existent water and reduced refuse collection.


The crisis which has now reached critical levels is the cumulative result of poor planning and maintenance extending over a considerable period of time.


Had this been attended to on a regular basis, hyperinflation would possibly have a less disastrous impact. Now it is the final nail in the coffin as people struggle to make ends meet.


When Truman was United States president, he had a notice on his desk “The Buck Stops Here”.


No one truly cares who runs their country — all they want is for it to be run efficiently and for them to be able to have their basic needs.


Civil Engineer,

Harare.