Council says that the water and sanitation rehabilitation project using the US$144 million facility extended to Harare by the China Exim Bank is progressing well and that residents can expect work to be completed by June 2015 instead of April 2016 as previously planned.
Speaking during a tour of Morton Jaffray water works on Thursday, City of Harare (CoH) acting town clerk Josephine Ncube said that the contractor has already completed the redesign of the water and wastewater plants for the retrofitting of the new equipment.
“The dismantling and decommissioning is taking place at Morton Jaffray, Firle, Crowborough and Borrowdale Brook pump stations. This work is now 80 percent complete. Because of the dismantling and decommissioning, the Morton Jaffray water works is operating at 70 percent capacity,” said Ncube.
Ncube also said that engineers had started installing state of the art water quality testing equipment bought from reputable suppliers in China. “The equipment will help us increase our surveillance of the water quality from treatment through distribution to the consumer’s tap. The equipment will also be used in pollution monitoring especially our wastewater effluent,” she said.
So far two pressure reducing valves have been installed in Warren Park D and Ardbennie. According to Ncube council has already started experiencing a reduction in pipe bursts from six to one per week in Ardbennie and from twenty to six in Warren Park.
“We have also received four water bowsers to use in emergency situations especially in areas not accessing reticulated water. We have also received two seven tonne crane trucks for maintenance purposes, high velocity machines to de-choke blocked sewers, two excavators and one 35 tonne crane. The city has been hiring such equipment for over US$2 million per year,” said Ncube.
Ncube added that improvements in water delivery have been recorded in areas such as Mabvuku, Tafara and Hatcliffe that were not accessing water in the past.
Harare Acting Mayor Thomas Muzuva who was also part of the tour said that the project is going to increase Harare’s water production from 450 megalitres a day to 670 megalitres, but also said that the improvement will not completely clear the city’s water deficit.
“Our water sources are heavily polluted and causing a huge treatment bill. The solution lies in the construction of additional water sources. Three dams have been earmarked for this expansion. These are Muda, Musami and Kunzvi,” said acting mayor Muzuva.
Muzuva said that they were positive that Government and other stakeholders will continue to work vigorously to access funding for the construction of the three dams and their ancillary infrastructure.
However, over the past few months the water and sanitation rehabilitation project has been darkened by controversy as councillors have accused municipal executives of abusing funds from the loan. An investigation is ongoing over the alleged purchase of luxury vehicles by council executives using funds from the $144 million loan.
The purchase of the vehicles was defended by the minister of local government Dr Ignatius Chombo who was also present at the tour of Morton Jaffray. Dr Chombo said that every project that is undertaken in the country has a provision for project equipment and vehicles, but said he will wait for the investigation results before commenting.
City of Harare has struggled to provide residents with clean and safe water supplies for many years now, and the rehabilitation of the water and sanitation facilities is expected to go a long way in easing water problems in the city.