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Looking Back: Water problems blamed on delays in dam construction

15 Sep, 2020 - 00:09 0 Views
Looking Back: Water problems blamed on delays in dam construction

The Herald

The Herald, 7 July 2011

The CHAIRPERSON of the Harare environment management committee Clr Herbert Gomba has proposed the holding of a water forum to discuss, among other key issues, the funding of water projects.

About US$1,1 billion is required for the construction of Kunzvi and Musami dams whose combined effect will end Harare’s water woes.

He announced during a recent full council meeting that his committee was working on the funding forum that would bring together stakeholders including Government and funding partners.

There has been confusion on who should build the city’s water sources with Harare adamant the construction of the dams was its baby while Government has its own proposals.

A number of water sources, among them Kunzvi, Musami and Mazowe dams have been proposed, but the timelines within which the dams should have been constructed have lapsed.

Kunzvi Dam expected to supply 270 mega litres was supposed to be built in 2004 while Musami Dam was earmarked for commissioning in 2007. The yield from the dam was forecast at 450 mega litres.

The third water source, Mazowe Dam is supposed to be commissioned in 2017, but judging from past experiences, the project could still be “still born”.

Harare and its satellite towns of Chitungwiza, Ruwa, Norton and Epworth have a demand of 1 200 megalitres per day, but only half the demand is produced daily.

This means other suburbs have to go without water.

In a report at a recent Urban Councils of Zimbabwe workshop in Victoria Falls, Clr Gomba said the major obstacle to providing adequate water was water losses.

The water is not paid for by consumers implying that all the costs that go into its purification are not recouped. This water is referred to as non-revenue water.

This is mainly due to the old network that is prone to leaks and bursts and inaccuracies in meter readings and water pilferage.

“The inaccuracies in metering have been caused by malfunctioning meters due to old age,” said Clr Gomba.

Last year the city embarked on a water pipe replacement project using a Government-sourced donation of US$17,1 million.

LESSONS FOR TODAY

Councillor Gomba who was now the Mayor of Harare was recalled and is currently facing corruption charges before the courts of law.

The water crisis is not just in Harare, but countrywide, despite the fact that Zimbabwe has one of the largest number of water bodies in the region.

In order to achieve water security,  there is need for proper planning and long-term infrastructural investment. It is a costly, but worth it.

The mushrooming of informal settlements is a major challenge in planning for secure water points. Notwithstanding, clean water and sanitation are human rights. Lack of clean water can result in water-borne diseases.

Apart from household use, dam water can be used for agricultural production throughout the year.

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