Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, might have this week dodged a disaster after government intervened to ensure residents access potable water, but the ghost of water shortages continues to haunt the city which does not have adequate sources of water.
Authorities say what the city needs now, after restoration of water supplies on Tuesday night, is to find a lasting solution to the perennial problem. Council says construction of new water sources could be the sustainable solution to the water crisis.
Council also defended its reliance on Government assistance saying all relevant entities should work together to ensure there is water.
This comes after Government, through Acting Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, said Harare city has to clean up its act, as it cannot be perennially requesting bailouts.
In an interview with ZTN, city Spokesperson Michael Chideme said the long term solution to Harare’s water woes is to come up with new water sources which Government is mandated to provide.
“Water delivery is a value chain. Dams are constructed by ZINWA (Zimbabwe National Water Authority) which is a Government arm. We are also a substructure of central Government but we buy bulk water from ZINWA.
“We are saying to ZINWA, which is Government, construct the dams that are required so that the value chain is complete and we can have water which is purer than the water we have at Lakes Chivero and Manyame,” said Chideme.
Chitungwiza and Norton get their water from Harare and council believes that until the two towns get their own dams, Harare’s water problems will persist.
“Other local authorities which get water from Harare should also get their own sources so that they are not reliant on Harare’s water sources which are not even enough to provide for its own population,” said Chideme.
Harare is facing a water crisis which saw the city closing the main water plant, Morton Jaffray earlier this week.
The city got an emergency chemical supply lasting seven days, averting a potentially disastrous shutdown of Harare’s main water plant.
Harare Mayor, Hebert Gomba, told journalists that council is pinning its hopes on a Government bailout before the chemicals run out.
“We hope by that time (seven days) Government would have released the $37,4 million we requested from them as support funds,” Gomba said.
Harare needs about US$2 million a month to treat its water, an amount which it says it is failing to raise due to non-payment of debts by ratepayers.