HARARE residents have been warned to brace for severe water shortages, mostly on weekends, until July, as the local authority has taken delivery of the bulk of its equipment required for refurbishment of the Morton Jaffray plant.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Council’s water director, Christopher Zvobgo said most of the equipment under the $144 million loan facility from a Chinese bank was delivered last week and it was now all systems go, as the city seeks to put an end to its perennial water woes.
“Everything needed for Morton Jaffray is here now. We hope by July we will be done. We will have shutdowns on most weekends, as we work on refurbishments,” he said in an interview at the Morton Jaffray Waterworks at the weekend.
“The pumps came today (on Saturday) from China and at least we will be able to run. We started slowly, but now we are moving,” he said.
The water cuts have reportedly caused panic among residents, who expressed fear of a major disease outbreak.
The city already has confirmed cases of typhoid.
Zvobgo said the shutdowns experienced during the past weekend that led to most parts of Harare, Norton, Ruwa, Epworth and Chitungwiza going without water, were meant to allow major rehabilitation works and involved the installation of valves at the trunk mains to the city centre.
“We have four pipelines feeding the city. The problem has been, if there is a burst, we shut down the whole plant. If this is sorted, then we can be able to put valves for specific areas without closing.”
Zvobgo said the state-of-the-art machinery being installed at the Morton Jaffray plant would allow the city to save millions of dollars in electricity charges.
“At the moment, this plant consumes a million dollars a month in electricity and we owe Zesa quite a lot. This is modern technology and it will save at least 25% of the power used,” he said.
Officials said more than $55 million had so far been spent on the rehabilitation exercise.
The city is also working out plans to get another $178 million loan from a Chinese firm for water projects on top of the $144 million received from the Asian country.
Zvobgo said the machinery they were replacing was old with part of it having been commissioned in 1953.
Harare is targeting to bring its pumping capacity at Morton Jaffray to 614 megalitres a day.