Yeukai Karengezeka Herald Correspondent
Water problems that have been affecting Chitungwiza residents for years have intensified in recent weeks with most areas now receiving water once or twice a week, posing a health risk of outbreaks of water borne-diseases.
Chitungwiza Municipality made a public notice for residents to embrace the water shortages as the local authority was currently receiving water twice a week from Harare City Council.
“Dear residents, we would like to inform you that we are failing to supply water as per our rationing schedule.
“The reason being that we are now receiving water twice per week (Mondays and Fridays).
“In view of that situation, we are now carrying out a water demand management schedule in eight-hour intervals to cover all areas,” reads the notice.
While the town requires 45 megalitres of water daily, Harare was providing only 30 megalitres.
Harare is facing a serious water crisis as the city’s major water sources are drying up.
Lake Chivero which should be spilling around this time of the year, is only around 60 percent full while two other dams which augment water supplies Harava and Seke are 7 percent and 6,3 percent full, respectively.
Morton Jaffray Treatment Works, which has a capacity of 604 megalitres a day is only pumping 350 to 380 megalitres a day against a requirement of about 1 200 megalitres a day.
The problem has worsened due to a shortage of water treatment chemicals with the city now pinning hopes on Higherlife Foundation to provide the required foreign currency to purchase chemicals.
The city requires US$2,5 million for water chemicals every month but the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has failed to meet its foreign currency demand.
Chitungwiza Residents and Ratepayers Association chairperson Mr Arthur Taderera said the local authority must drill more community boreholes as a mitigating measure.
“In light of the water situation in Chitungwiza, council must drill more boreholes in the communities so that residents can have access to clean and safe water.
“In the past, legislators, through the Constituency Development Fund allocations, drilled some boreholes but most of them are now down and the few that are functioning are overwhelmed,” he said.
Mr Taderera said council must not charge for services which they are failing offer.
“We have been talking about this issue for years. Council should not charge for water that it is failing to supply. The water bills are not equivalent to the water consumed by many residents throughout the month.
“This is one of the reasons why some ratepayers are reluctant to honour their bills,” he said.
He added that permanent solution to the water shortages is having own source of water, the Muda Dam project which is still in preliminary stages.