BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Harare City Council (HCC) has started carrying out trial runs for locally-made water purification chemicals which are expected to reduce the demand for foreign currency and save the local authority US$500 000 monthly.
Mayor Herbert Gomba yesterday said the city was working with an unnamed partner to undertake tests on a new chemical regime which would replace at least three different imported chemicals.
“Tests for a new water chemical that will replace three of those in current use and save US$500 000 are progressing well. This will improve our yield per day as it will also deal with odour, algae and kill bacteria, making more water available to our residents,” Gomba said.
He said preliminary indications were that the new chemical, chlorine dioxide “will restore confidence in our water through improved quality of the distributed product”.
The HCC has been battling to provide enough potable water to its residents due to shortages of foreign currency to procure purification chemicals.
As of yesterday, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had disbursed US$150 000 from the US$3 million needed to pay for the six chemicals used in the water purification process.
Gomba said council had asked corporates to chip in and help in the replacement of old pipes and deal with leakages to ensure all treated water is distributed to residents.
So far Econet, led by Strive Masiyiwa, has structured a deal with Harare to fund at least $200 million for water distribution and sewer reticulation.
The current crisis has seen the local authority reduce daily water production from 420 megalitres to less than 100 megalitres, leaving many residents without tap water.
The daily water demand in Harare ranges between 800 and 1 200 megalitres and more than 62% of water produced is lost to leakages, illegal connections and commercial losses.
Besides supplying its residents, Harare has an obligation to supply water to Chitungwiza, Norton, Ruwa and Epworth, all administered by independent boards and councils.