Water woes in Harare are set to persist following the admission by city council that there was no solution in sight to address the crisis, now compounded by persistent power cuts and poorly-serviced boreholes installed by Unicef in 2008.
“We are in a serious water crisis that needs urgent attention. It might take three or more years, but let’s start now to work on solutions.
We are producing only 620 megalitres against demand of 1 400 megalitres at this time of the year,” said Christopher Zvobgo, city Water department director, at a full council meeting in Harare on Thursday.
“From 620 megalitres, we lose 200 to 300 megalitres from leakages and what remains is supposed to be shared among 4 million people within Greater Harare — it’s very difficult.”
Town clerk Tendai Mahachi blamed power utility Zesa for failure to provide adequate power to pump water from Morton Jaffray waterworks.
“Power interruptions are causing this problem. A series of power cuts are the biggest contributors. Between now and the weekend we are going to be limping on and off because of the power cuts.”
“We should have a plan, but it needs money.
Kunzvi Dam, for example, needs $450 million which the Ministry of Finance says it doesn’t have and for other sources to come on board, we need at least $1,1 billion. A lot of boreholes don’t have decent water. There might be sewers in some of these (water) sources,” said Mahachi.
The water debate during the meeting came amid reports fights were erupting in high-density suburbs among residents scrambling for the precious liquid available from a few remaining sources.
Desperate residents are now resorting to unorthodox measures, harvesting water from unprotected sources, risking another cholera outbreak.