Harare (New Ziana) – The Harare City Council (HCC) said on Monday investment in new water sources is the only solution to the perennial shortages, while in the interim, the government should declare the current crisis a state of disaster to allow donors to step in to alleviate the situation.
Last week, the government gave the HCC ZWL$37.4 million for it to deal with the water challenges in the capital, but the council said the intervention was akin to a drop in the ocean as much more is required to fully address the issue.
The capital city has been grappling with severe water shortages which have seen some suburbs going for weeks without the precious liquid, exposing them to serious health hazards.
Acting Harare mayor councillor Enock Mupamawonde told stakeholders at a Water Policy dialogue that the city was living in desperate times.
Mupamawonde said the city’s two supply reservoirs Lakes Chivero and Manyame were heavily polluted, while Seke and Harava had dried up, thereby reducing the amount of water available for treatment.
“The construction of Kunzvi, Musami and Mazowe dam must get priority if we are to get a permanent solution to this water crisis. This is an emergency and we feel that Government should fulfill its obligations to ensure that our residents get water,” he said.
“In the absence of these water facilities our fears are that Harare may soon run dry, even the boreholes that we drilled may soon dry up as well because the water table is now stressed.”
He added; “We are living in desperate times as far as water provision is concerned we have called on the government to declare the water situation in Harare a national disaster.
“If it is declared a national disaster, it means a lot in terms of the programmes of action which can be put in place both by the city and at national level by the government. Because the situation has become desperate, the declaration would enable donors and the international community to mobilise resources so as to salvage the situation.”
Mupamawonde said Harare’s water demand stands at around 1 200 mega litres a day, but council was only providing less than half of that.
“We are managing an average 300 mega litres a day, hardly enough water to satisfy the population of Harare. Chivero and Manyame are heavily polluted implying that the water is too expensive to treat,” he said.
He said because of the heavily polluted water, the city’s water treatment bill now stood at RTGS$40 million every month.
In the short-term, the city would soon deploy water bowsers across the city, while also drilling boreholes in selected areas.