Water Woes set to Persist

HARARE’S water problems will persist until government constructs the Kunzvi Dam and raises resources to repair plant and treatment facilities, Water Resources minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo has said.


According to a document compiled recently by Nkomo, the water crisis was a result of years of absence of funding to recapitalise and failure to expand capacity despite evidence that the urban population was growing at what he described as an “alarming state”.

 

He said while Harare needs 1 200 megalitres of water daily, the Morton Jaffrey plant has a maximum capacity of up to 614 ML per day, 50% less of the capital’s requirements.

The plant, he said, was also not operating at full capacity and currently produces 400-500 ML per day, less than half of Harare’s demands.

Nkomo said over 40% of the city’s gross clear water produced fails to find its way to consumers limiting volumes supplied.

He added: “The high frequency of sewer blockages, leakages and overloaded sewers are exposing people to health risks. Out of the 400-500 ML produced, up to 40% is lost due to serious pipeline leakages all over the city. Infrastructure is old and dilapidated and has passed its design life. It is urgent to provide adequate resources to rehabilitate the plant and replace the leaking pipes.”

Water from Chivero and Manyame dams is not helping, Nkomo said, adding that the water from the two dams is either of poor quality or is “heavily polluted with sewerage and industrial waste”.

Nkomo added that there is need to provide a new water source for Harare to meet growth in water demand.
Loss of skilled manpower has also taken a toll on the authorities’ ability to deal with the crisis, he said.
To end the water woes, Nkomo said Kunzvi Dam should be expeditiously constructed.

While Nkomo highlighted the cholera outbreak last year as a product of the dire water situation in the country, experts warned last  week that Zimbabwe could be headed for a fresh outbreak ahead of the rainy season because government has not dealt with structural causes of the epidemic.

A United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report says government has not addressed broken-down “anachronistic” water and sanitation infrastructure characterised by burst sewer systems and water pipes that often result in sewerage contaminating water before it reaches household level.

Chris Muronzi

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