The Harare City Council has introduced city-wide water rationing, with some suburbs getting supplies for a few hours and others on interspersed days.
The full schedule will be released this week, and water bowsers will be deployed to areas such as Budiriro, Hatcliffe, Mabvuku, Letombo, Hatfield, Msasa Park and Kamfinsa.
Harare Water Distribution Manager Engineer Hosiah Chisango told The Sunday Mail that levels in Harava and Seke dams — the city’s main water sources — were low, prompting rationing.
Eng Chisango said normal water supplies would likely resume when the rainy season started.
On August 24, 2016, Harava and Seke dams’ capacities were one percent and 5,7 percent respectively. Lake Chivero, an alternative source, is at 50 percent, meaning the capital could be looking at only four months’ water supply.
“Harava and Seke dams are drying up such that pumping water from them takes longer than before. The quality of raw water from the two dams is also now poor and it has become more costly to purify,” Eng Chisango said.
“Therefore, we are reducing the water we are pumping until the onset of the rains, and this will help us conserve the little that we have. We have gone back to those days when some areas only received water during the night while others will have days when they will not get any water.
“In places that will be most affected, we will deploy water bowsers and these will become permanent features until the situation improves. Starting (this week), water bowsers will be deployed to suburbs that include Budiriro, Hatfield, Mabvuku, Tafara and Budiriro.”
Eng Chisango said the council had roped in Government to help expedite rehabilitation of Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant.
“Morton Jaffray is almost complete; we used the first disbursement to rehabilitate the water works, but that alone will not solve the city’s water problems. When rehabilitation is complete, only the Western suburbs will benefit because they receive water directly from Morton Jaffray. However, the rest of the city will need water treatment plants such as Warren Control.
“At the moment, we need to replace pumps at Warren Control, Alex and Letombo so that once water is treated at Morton Jaffray, it can then be distributed to other areas. So, we have engaged the Ministry of Finance over the issue.”
Harare has been struggling to maintain consistent water supplies mainly due to aged infrastructure failing to service an expanding population.
The US$144 million rehabilitation of Morton Jaffray Water Works was to be completed in December 2016, but the deadline was pushed back to 2017. Upon completion, water supply at the plant will increase to 670 mega-litres per day from 400 mega-litres.
Government has sealed a US$600 million agreement for construction of Kunzvi-Musami Dam, which will service Greater Harare.
The dam will have a capacity of 155,4 million cubic litres, producing 250 000 cubic litres of water daily. University of Zimbabwe Rural and Urban Planning lecturer Mr Nyasha Mutsindikwa said, “There is need to increase the number of water bodies that supply the city. The existing water infrastructure does not match the increasing population.
“Installing prepaid water meters is also important in conserving the little water that we have.
‘‘In addition, we need to conserve wetlands as this will help existing water bodies.“Water rationing is a short-term measure which is good, but the local authority should prioritise high-density suburbs during the exercise as they are more vulnerable compared to low-density areas.” Sunday mail