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‘Harare water safe’

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HARARE City Council has once again defended the quality of its “greenish and foul-smelling” water, saying it was fit for human consumption and met international standards.

Phyllis Mbanje
STAFF REPORTER

Council spokesperson Michael Chideme said the water, which has been widely condemned by residents and independent water experts as unfit for human consumption, had been approved by the World Health Organisations, adding that the pungent smell and greenish colour in most of the water was caused by a concoction of chemicals used during the purification process.

“Our water is safe to drink and meets the world-class standards that govern us,” Chideme said.

“You will notice that it froths and has a greenish tinge, all this is just lime segmenting and not dirt or any form of contamination.”
Many residents have resorted to sinking their own boreholes, wells or use bottled water in place of the council water.

Council’s water engineer Christopher Zvobgo told members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment in July that the local authority tested its water every hour to ensure its safety.
However, Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) quality assurance director Sebastian Zuze said declaring water safe was not a simple matter as they were processes that are followed.

“When we say a water sample conforms to standards, what we mean is that the processes leading to its sampling and procedures followed were met. It does not mean that it has been declared safe,” Zuze said.

He said it would take a whole audit to ascertain the safety of water and a certificate is issued.

“To the best of my knowledge, we have not carried out such an audit with Harare water,” he said.

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