5 October 2012

Zimbabwe: Western Suburbs Set to Get Normal Water Supplies

Water supply to Harare's western and parts of the southern suburbs is expected to normalise starting today after the city engineers repaired the major pump that broke down at Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant. Medium pump number six, that supplies Lochinvar reservoir succumbed to pressure and raptured and the city engineers spent the greater part of the week repairing it.

They are now waiting for the motor on the pump to dry up first before electricity can be restored to pump water.

Only one pump was operational at the time of the incident with the other two, number four and five, completely down.

Water woes have become common in Harare and its satelitte towns of Chitungwiza and Norton. The city has been losing millions of litres of treated water daily owing to pipe bursts over the past years. Everytime residents are disconnected, they resort to fetching water from unprotected sources.

Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Lesley Gwindi said the engineers were working hard to rectify the problem.

"We anticipate the reservoirs to fill up as of midday tomorrow then normal supply might resume during the weekend," said Mr Lesley Gwindi.

A survey conducted in the western suburbs has revealed that most of the boreholes drilled by Unicef are down and needed rehabilitation.

Residents in the affected suburbs slammed the MDC-T led council for failing to provide the essential services to the ratepayers.

A Warren Park resident, Mr Lovemore Chimombe, told The Herald that council had let the people down in terms of service delivery.

"Council makes us pay huge bills for water that we don't use because most of the times our taps are dry," said Mr Chimombe.

"We are not happy with the city fathers who seem to be clueless on the water problems that we are facing daily."

Mr Chimombe said it was high time Government intervened and sort out the mess at the city and avert the outbreak of diseases.

Another resident in Kuwadzana, Ms Anna Dube, said council should come up with measures to ensure that people have water when their engineers are repairing burst pipes.

"They should provide bowsers as a stop-gap measure," she said. "We are spending our valuable time scrambling for water at few boreholes here because we can't do without the precious liquid."

Mr John Makayiwanga of Budiriro said: "The water problems have become perennial and it is unlikely that the city fathers will be able to solve the problems. What is needed is to fire the entire management at council and bring in new people with fresh ideas."

For the past weeks Harare residents have not had enough water because of plant breakdowns at Morton Jaffray, huge leakages on the reticulation and high demand caused by high temperatures.

In his report to the environmental management committee, Harare water director Engineer Christopher Zvobgo attributed the water shortages to rising temperatures and constant infrastructure breakdowns.

The city, he said, was throttling supplies in all areas that were fed directly from the water mains and would continue with the leak-sealing exercise.

This prompted the city to introduce rotational water rationing.

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