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‘Harare water crisis far from over’

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BY MOSES MATENGA

HARARE’s perennial water crisis is far from over, with government yesterday admitting that the high cost of purifying water, leakages as well as illegal connections were stifling efforts to address the issue.

Some parts of Harare have gone for years without potable water, a situation which has forced residents to resort to shallow wells and boreholes as alternative sources, risking contracting waterborne diseases.

“We have a great challenge in Harare in terms of water. The problem is two-pronged with the high cost of cleaning where  10 or 11 chemicals are used unlike other cities,” provincial development co-ordinator Tafadzwa Muguti said.

“The main reason is that people have inhabited wetlands and disrupted (flow of underground) water which used to flow all the way into dams from doing so.

“Now we have people who have settled in those wetlands and are digging Blair toilets, while others are doing business with chemicals and oils, resulting in a situation where we have to clean our water four times more than other cities.”

Harare supplies water to Chitungwiza, Norton, Ruwa and Epworth.  Muguti said as a long term measure, the government was planning to construct additional dams to cater for the other towns constituting Greater Harare.

“The water itself when it’s cleaned, for every 100 litres, 60% is non-revenue water that is lost through leakages, illegal connections among other issues.

“If we want to address the issue of water, no matter how many dams we get — as long as we have this animal called non-revenue water which is treated, but we don’t know where it goes, we have a challenge.

“High-density suburbs such as Mabvuku, Tafara, Kambuzuma, among others are not even getting water because of the problem of pipes that are obsolete for the modern-day era. We now need to go and fully resuscitate that area,” Muguti said.

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