US$75m boost for city water

Dr Tendai Mahachi

Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter
India has given Harare City Council US$75 million, half loan and half grant, to replace water mains and minimise leaks which account for up to 60 percent of treated water.Town Clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi on Tuesday told a full council meeting the deal was negotiated by Vice President Joice Mujuru when she visited India.

On November 26, Dr Mahachi told the Environmental Management Committee that the water distribution network comprised pump stations, valves, 5 500km of water mains and bulk and consumer meters.

In the committee’s minutes, he said the city had challenges of frequent pump breakdowns and was incurring water losses of about 60 percent attributable to the aged distribution network which is over 50 years old.

He said to address the water losses, the city needs to replace the aged pipes. In some areas the pipes should be upgraded to enable the reticulation to carry the required water pressures without bursting.

Dr Mahachi estimated the cost of replacing the aged pumping equipment, part of the pipe network, valves and meters to be US$75 million.

“The team from India had done its assessments of the infrastructure and was ready to start negotiations with the city. The loan attracted an interest of 2 percent a year which was favourable to the city.

“The facility would be received by Harare as part loan and part grant and was favourable arrangement for the city,” read part of the minutes.

The loan repayment terms are yet to be finalised as the deal has not been concluded. Dr Mahachi said the overhaul of the pipe network would result in the reduction of water losses.

He said the project would be synchronised with the current rehabilitation of the water treatment plant at Morton Jaffray under the under the US$144 million China Import and Export Bank  loan.

Councillors recommended that Dr Mahachi negotiate and sign the deal.

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