Harare City working to address water shortages

By Joyce Mukucha

Water shortages in most parts of Harare are being addressed to ensure the delivery of safe, clean and potable water to residents, the City’s Acting Water Manager Mr Tapiwa Kunyadini has said.

The Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant is under refurbishment and old pipes in the suburbs are being replaced and monitored so that all residents would receive adequate water supply.

Addressing the residents during the tour at Morton Jaffray on the 6th of February 2018, Kunyadini said there was need to ensure that the logistics of chemical suppliers from countries like China were improved and delays at border posts addressed.

He urged suppliers to meet the deadlines of delivering chemicals so that the process of purifying water does not get disturbed.

Residents from different suburbs complained that they were not accessing enough water. The rare times they get it, the water will be dirty and unsafe for consumption, posing a health time bomb.

Kunyadini assured the residents that the Harare City Council was replacing old pipes at Morton Jaffray that were installed in 1954 when the plant started to work. The replacement of pipes would ensure that maximum capacity of water would be produced.

He indicated that the operation was more automated and had improved since slugging and filtration processes had been upgraded.

“Clarifiers need to be worked on to produce maximum capacity. Previously, the average capacity of water we produced was 300 mega litres per day but now we have improved as we are producing 450 mega litres per day. 604 mega litres is what we can produce but for now we are producing 520 mega litres per day if we manage to get constant supply of chemicals.

“The water is perfect but we should remember that the pipes were put in place long back when old suburbs were constructed. It’s quite a challenge that we could not expand water deliveries,” he said.

He assured the residents that council would purify the water with chlorine and other chemicals.

On the issue of US$144 million which was availed to Morton Jaffray, Kunyadini said it was not received in the form of cash but equipment.

“Only US$72 million was received as cash and the money was meant to rehabilitate Morton Jaffray and other water plants which government is working on. Also the money is supposed to construct three warehouses. The main challenge we face is that our suppliers are not reliable in as far as delivering chemicals is concerned but I assure you that that is going to stop shortly,” said Kunyadini.

The council official asdded that Morton Jaffray can only supply 4 percent of Harare’s water needs and it cannot be expanded unless Lake Chivero and Lake Manyame were expanded. He said that some suburbs were not receiving enough water because of lack of adequate power supply. Zimbabwe went through a serious economic challenges resulting in the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority facing problems in terms of power generation.

There is need for ZESA to recapitalise so that it would have capacity to generate enough power to ensure the continuous process of purifying water at the plant.

Michael Chideme, the Harare City Council Spokesperson encouraged resident to engage the municipality about their queries and give their recommendations.

One of the residents from Mabvuku said she was pleased to witness that work at the water treatment plant was being done properly and urged the City of Harare to upgrade pipelines in the high density suburbs.

“I’m happy because I have seen it with my own eyes that people are doing work here and water is properly purified but what I urge the authorities is to ensure the water that would be accessed by residents would be clean and safe for consumption,” she said.

Residents were also urged to educate others to stop vandalising ZESA facilities and internet cables so that the process of purifying water does not get disturbed.