The rehabilitation of Harare’s water works using funds from the $144 million China Exim Bank loan and the $9.5 million ZIMFUND Phase 1 grant appears to be progressing well.
Last month the council commissioned three pumps at Morton Jaffray which increased output at the plant by 100 million litres to 500 million litres per day. The plant, which has the capacity to produce 614 million litres per day, was only producing 400 million litres before the installation of the pumps last month.
A report on Harare’s water situation, released by Harare Water Director Engineer Christopher Zvobgo in December 2014, showed a lot of progress in the water and sewer rehabilitation project. The report states that water production at Morton Jaffray had been increased by 72 mega-litres per day as of December 2014. The report went on to say that pumping availability at Morton Jaffray had also been increased by two pumps while the pump reliability at Prince Edward had been improved to 100% capacity. Eng Zvobgo’s report also pointed out that bulk flow measurement was now available at 100% while water dosing plant availability had been improved by 60%. Water losses through leakages had been reduced by 50 mega litres from 140 mega litres per day, thereby improving water mobility by 25%.
City of Harare Principal Communications Officer Michael Chideme said that these improvements have resulted in better water supply to various areas such as Mabvuku/Tafara, and all Northern suburbs which now receive water four times a week from the previous twice per week. “Isolation valves have also been installed which allows for maintenance to be done on individual sections without closing down the whole plant,” said Chideme.
City of Harare also announced in December last year that it will start the ZIMFUND phase 2 programme this month as it had received a $19.5 million grant from African Development Bank. The money will go towards the replacement of water pipes, acquisition of new water meters, and dislodging of sewer ponds. “Of the amount, $12 million is for water pipe replacements. The City’s water reticulation is antiquated and needs urgent replacement. The bulk of Harare’s 5,500 kms of water pipes was laid over 40 years ago and has naturally gone beyond their permitted lifespan,” said Chideme in the statement.
Council supposed that the replacement of the old pipes will drastically reduce non-revenue water and ensure that more water reaches the households and said that this will also increase the city’s revenue as residents who are accessing water will be more inclined to pay for the service.
“The program will take up to 10 months to complete. Part of the funds will be used to dislodge ponds in Mabvuku/Tafara and Borrowdale Brook and install new pumps. At least 140,000 new water meters will be bought using the grant, as well as pressure reducing valves,” said Chideme.
However, some residents have said that they are yet to see any improvement in the water situation. Sharon Magodyo, the community coordinator for Harare Residents Trust (HRT), said that from the reports coming from residents there has been no change in the supply of water by council. “Residents in Mabvuku, Tafara, Zimre Park and Waterfalls have no water. Harare water should replace underground pipes so that water reaches the communities because 30% of the processed water is being lost through broken pipes. What residents want is to see water coming out of their taps, not to be given updates that there is progress at Morton Jaffray while they do not see any change,” said Magodyo.
Councillor for Mabvuku Ward, an area with perennial water problems, Barnabas Ndira, told Harare News that council was letting down the residents of his area. He said, “Progress yes, but since they finished (installing the pumps) we have not received any water supplies.”