A STORY in the Herald of September 28 carried the headline: “Zinwa fails to end water woes”.
This was with respect to the current water supply problems (not challenges please!) facing residents of the Harare metropolitan
region. The editor would do well to go back in history.
Zinwa was established only two to three years ago. It is our short-sighted and self-serving politicians that have failed the residents of Harare, not Zinwa which only inherited the problem.
As far back as the early 1990s, the Department of Water Development (DWD) in the then Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Water Development, put forward plans for the construction of a new reservoir — Kunzwi Dam — on the Nyagui River to supply the northeastern parts of the city, including Mabvuku, Tafara and Ruwa, areas worst affected by water shortages today.
The affected communities in Mangwende and Rusike communal areas were informed that they were to be relocated to make way for the dam.
At the time, DWD anticipated that demand for water in the metropolis would match the full supply capacity of the reservoirs on the Manyame River in the west (Lakes Chivero and Manyame plus the smaller Harava and Seke Dams) by 1996.
Thereafter, the region would increasingly face water supply shortages due to growing demand.
We are now in 2006 and paying for our politicians’ inaction.
It is also worth noting that the last storage reservoir for Harare — Lake Manyame — was constructed in the late 1970s under the Ian Smith regime. For the past 30 years, our liberators have done nothing to ensure continued water supplies for the city despite all the evidence of rapid population growth.
Instead of providing the necessary funds for new dams and associated infrastructure, they were more concerned with keeping the late Chenjerai Hunzvi and his merry men happy. Then came the ZNA misadventure in the DRC. And, as the saying goes, the rest is history.
As the recent advert by Zinwa suggested, the Harare metropolis needs another source of water first and foremost. Otherwise our current water problems will only get worse.