Sallomy Matar and Yeukai Karengezeka
Harare City Council is set to declare the water situation a state of emergency to allow partners to come on board, as some of the dams it relies on have dried up due to drought.
The city council has already decommissioned Prince Edward Waterworks because of the poor water supplies to the station.
The city is also battling to procure water chemicals due to the shortage of foreign currency.
On average, the city requires between US$2,5 million and US$2,8 million monthly to procure water chemicals.
To alleviate the situation, three companies have responded to the city’s call for alternative water treatment solutions for Morton Jaffray water treatment works.
The local authority is using a cocktail of compounds of up to a dozen to treat water.
In an interview, environmental management committee chairperson Councillor Kudzai Kadzombe said the situation had reached alarming levels, hence the need to declare the situation an emergency.
“Seke and Harava dams have dried up, forcing council to decommission the Prince Edward Waterworks, which produces over 80 million litres daily,” she said.
“The drought comes at a time pollution and a dilapidated water reticulation system are at centre stage.”
The city’s environment management committee met this week and resolved to declare the situation a state of emergency.
Clr Kadzombe has urged residents to develop coping mechanisms while lasting solutions are being pursued.
“When we get to a situation like the one we are in now, we have to be prepared as a city and as a nation to survive in that mode,” she said.
“We are going to make a full presentation at the full council next week to try and bring interim solutions such as water bowsers, sink deeper boreholes to cushion our residents from the water crisis.”
Clr Kadzombe said the long-term solution was to have additional water sources.
Harare has been facing water problems and the city recently introduced water rationing and a timetable to go with it.
The recent Monetary Policy Statement which requires suppliers to get forex at the interbank rate has also gravely affected water supply, hence the city now requires more money to purchase water treatment chemicals.
The city also said there were growing calls by environmentalists to ban urban agriculture in inappropriate places and that resources should be availed to rehabilitate sewage works in all local authorities that pollute the Manyame River, Harare included.