RAW and untreated sewerage is being pumped directly into Lake Chivero and other water bodies by Harare City Council, whose absolute sewerage and water treatment plants are battling with rampant illegal settlers and growing population.
BY RUTENDO MATANHIKE/ BLESSED MHLANGA
Council is pumping almost 82% of untreated sewerage into the lake, a main water source for its residents and ratepayers, exposing many to waterborne diseases.
The discharge of raw sewage is also inflating the cost of water treatment for Harare.
Crowbrough sewerage treatment plant is pumping 82 mega litres of raw sewage into Lake Chivero on a daily bases, compromising the quality of drinking water and the over two million Zimbabweans resident in Harare.
Harare Metropolitan Provincial Affairs minister Oliver Chidawu said government and council were looking at ways to solve the problem caused by pollution in order to save lives.
“The biggest problem we have got is waste water pollution, taking an example from Crowbrough sewage works, which is receiving about 100 mega litres of raw sewage per day against its installed capacity of 54 mega litres,” he said.
“The current infrastructure at the treatment works is only processing 18 mega litres and the rest is being pumped into the lake. We are all drinking dirty water and if action is not taken, we will all die.”
Chidawu, who also toured Firle Sewage Works and Morton Jeffray Waterworks, said there was a need for a multi-stakeholder approach to deal with the massive water and sewer reticulation problems afflicting Harare, which is in need of over $1,2 billion to deal with the sanitation disaster.
“On the side of fresh water supply, it has been emphasised that Harare need about 1400 mega litres a day. Of that, we have installed capacity of 600 mega litres to date. Those 600 mega litres we are unable to pump because there is need to treat the water and make repairs. It then limits what you can pump out. We need additional waste water facilities built as soon as possible because otherwise the situation is going to be dire,” the minister said.
“We also have a problem with algae in the lake. What we are doing is that we are now working as a team. The situation is dire because all of us are drinking dirty water. It is affecting everyone. The water coming out of taps is not completely clean as per required standards.”
Harare town clerk Hosiah Chisango said the city had a solution, but required major financing in United States dollars to ensure that the issue of water and sewer reticulation is solved.
He said about $600 million was need for the reticulation and rehabilitation of the existing infrastructure and similar amount for expansion works.