Ageing water infrastructure the cause of crisis, says Hre council

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Harare City Council

HARARE City Council (HCC) town clerk Hosiah Chisango on Wednesday blamed obsolete water services infrastructure for the current water crisis.

Speaking at the Greater Harare Water Institutional Options Review workshop, Chisango said due to budgetary constraints, the city has not been able to engage in planned maintenance on the water services system, which includes water treatment plants, bulk water infrastructure and reticulation pipelines.

“The deferment of maintenance has resulted in the deterioration of the water services infrastructure, which in turn has impacted on service delivery.

“High climatic variability was one of the major challenges facing Harare in the management of water resources; rainfall is an unpredictable variable. In the past ten years we have had unpredictable rain seasons,” he said.

Harare’s main water treatment plant, Morton Jaffray, was constructed in 1952 to cater for a population of 300 000, but Harare now has a population of over four million people.

Chisango also said the economic environment and pricing policies for water supply render tariffs uneconomic even after reviews.

HCC said a rehabilitation programme to remedy deficiencies in existing water infrastructure was required, and there was need to expand the availability of raw water with the construction of additional water supply infrastructure like Kunzvi, Musami and Muda dams.

“There was also a need to explore alternative water treatment solutions and a non-revenue water comprehensive leak detection and water loss reduction program must be implemented.”

Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba said the past two councils could not be blamed for Harare water challenges because they were historical.

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