Most parts of Harare have run dry with numerous suburbs having gone for months without water, leaving residents scavenging for the precious liquid from unprotected wells.
This has created a cholera scare reminiscent of the 2008 era when an estimated 6 000 people contracted the disease, with hundreds succumbing to the pandemic.
According to the Harare City Council, the water crisis is a result of aged infrastructure, pipe leakages and demand that has out-stripped supply.
Water director Christopher Zvobgo, in a document entitled “Inadequate Supply of Water in Harare”, said demand has outstripped supply.
Zvobgo said council was mandated to supply potable water to more than four million residents in Harare and its metropolitan province, including Chitungwiza, Epworth, Ruwa, Hatcliffe and Norton.
Harare’s water demand stands at 1 200 megalitres a day with council supplying just above 600 megalitres.
A survey by NewsDay this week showed most parts of Tynwald North, Dzivarasekwa, Warren Park, Msasa, Greendale, Malbereign, Mt Pleasant, Mbare, and the central business district among others, were dry.
Of all the affected areas, Tynwald North was the hardest hit with residents saying they have gone for close to five months without water. Wells, costing up to $400 to dig, have now become the in-thing in most suburbs.
“We are being assisted by those who have wells at their homes. Sometimes if they are not willing to help out, we have to walk to unprotected wells,” said a resident only identified Mrs Shambare.
Epworth is also dry with residents from Stopover saying they had now resorted to unprotected wells. Residents from surrounding towns such as Norton, Chitungwiza and Ruwa were also queuing for water from boreholes sunk by Unicef during the 2008 cholera outbreak because of persistent water shortages.
The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) also said most parts of Msasa, Hatfield, Tafara, and Mabvuku have gone for five years without water hence people were resorting to unprotected water sources.
The residents blamed the city fathers for failing to address the perennial water challenges.
HRT membership officer Simbarashe Majamanda said the water crisis was of serious concern to residents and a violation of a basic human right.
“This is an issue that is affecting residents who have no reasons to pay for services not rendered. We are concerned about issues to do with water supply. It’s a violation of the human right to f 20 litres of water a day and council has to prioritise water.”