Harare runs dry as thousands spend month with no running water
HARARE – Some Harare suburbs have gone for almost a month with no running water, raising fears of a health crisis in a city once battered by a cholera disaster that killed thousands.
Mayor Jacob Mafume, in past comments over the city’s perennial water woes, revealed the local authority was battling acute shortages of treatment chemicals.
He attributed the problem to low stocks from the supplier, which was reportedly failing to meet the city’s demands.
“The issue is Chemplex which supplies our chemicals. It’s a wholly owned government entity. It has just run out of chemicals. We have had to source elsewhere as it seems that Chemplex will not be able to meet our demand,” Mafume posted on his twitter handle recently.
An association representing the residents has called for government intervention towards resolving the crisis.
“The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) is alarmed at the continued shortages of water in dozens of communities across Harare metropolitan province where some residents have gone for more than a month without receiving council water.
“While the majority of the residents who do not have water are connected to the water system, thousands of residents settled in illegal settlements report that their boreholes are frequently running out of water, creating a huge health crisis.
“Without delay, the government should allow the City of Harare to purchase water treatment chemicals from the most competent suppliers.
“The current situation where the government wants the Council to buy water treatment chemicals from companies that are linked to the government is unhelpful and detrimental to the provision of water to residents of Harare Metropolitan Province,” said the group.
HRT said some of the residential areas which have not received tap water for weeks include Glen Norah, Dzivarasekwa, parts of Kuwadzana, Glenview and New Mabvuku.
The association accused city councillors and management of poor prioritisation amid reports they were squandering scarce funds towards holding workshops outside Harare to earn allowances.
“The most frightening part is that Budiriro and Glen View suburbs which were the epicentres of the cholera outbreak in 2008-2009 have had inconsistent water supplies,” said the Trust.
In an update this past week, the local authority said, “The city would like to notify you that there is no significant improvement in the supply of water treatment chemicals. We expect improvements starting today as one supplier promised to start supplies today (Tuesday).”