ZIMBABWE is not doing very well in providing clean water and sanitation to communities in both urban and rural areas, a water expert has said.
Speaking to journalists during a media workshop on women and children reporting in Nyanga last week, Unicef chief of water, sanitation and hygiene Mr Kiwe Sebunya said Zimbabwe's urban water system was a complex one.
"We are always in a dilemma, most sewage systems are waterborne. Raw sewage is flowing into dams that provide drinking water.
"If sewer rehabilitation is to be tackled, it needs enough water to have it flowing hence availability of water receive first priority," Mr Sebunya said.
He, however, said channelling more resources towards water supply first before sewage reticulation would expose residents to diseases as raw sewage continued to flow along streets.
"The situation is a complex one. There is a need for at least some little water to have the sewage flowing.
"Tackling the sewage when there is no water may result in blockages as the sewage fails to flow along the pipes," he said.
Mr Sebunya urged authorities to rehabilitate the sewer reticulation as the water situation improves.
"The reticulation systems in most urban areas are very old and require replacement at very huge costs," he said. Mr Sebunya, however, said Unicef had not abandoned urban water programmes after launching the rural water programmes.
"There is hope that we can get more resources for water and sanitation programmes in small towns. We are in the process of mobilising resources with some donors," he said.
"We want to focus more on rural areas where the majority of people without access to clean water and proper sanitary facilities are, where 75 percent of boreholes are not functioning and where one in every two households practise open defecation. These areas where high risk of diseases burden."
Mr Sebunya said boreholes for urban areas were never an option as a source of clean water but were only an emergency option during the 2008 and 2009 cholera outbreak.