29 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Govt Admits Failure to Supply Clean Water

Photo: Capital FM
Taps remain dry in Harare.

GOVERNMENT has admitted failing to supply adequate and clean water to Harare residents prompting it to regularise the operations of bulk water companies selling water to residents.

Water Resources Development and Management Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo yesterday said companies selling water to residents were "filling a gap" and needed Government support. He said this while addressing journalists in Harare on ground water management and bulk water delivery in the city.

This came after residents yesterday demonstrated against the sale of water by the companies. Some of the companies are charging US$60 for a 5 000-liter delivery of water.

"We cannot throw these companies away because they are fulfilling a need," he said.

"Government through its agent, the City of Harare, is failing to provide the city with sufficient clean water. I cannot stop water companies because if I do so those buying the water will come and demand the water from me and what will I give them?"

Minister Nkomo said Zinwa would send teams, beginning today, to regularise the operations of water supplying companies. He said the companies should have valid water permits.

"There is water shortage and consumers are buying water from these companies to supplement . . . there is need for compliance and all of them should have permits," said Minister Nkomo.

"By doing this, it gives me the ability to monitor the ground water levels to ensure that water is being abstracted at a sustainable rate and to allocate water equitably to consumers."

He said the teams would also monitor the quality of the water.

"This is done to ensure the health of the people because we might continue having those typhoid outbreaks," he said.

He urged the water companies to comply with recommendations and regularise their activities.

Minister Nkomo said a Chinese company would complete construction on the Kunzvi dam.

"Government has signed an MoU with AVIC International of China and we are very busy with them at the moment," he said.

"Other companies have been there for years and nothing has happened on the project but Government has got plan B to make the project a success hence our decision to rope in the Chinese." I am sick and tired of these companies that have failed for many years and this time we are moving forward."

Harare has suffered from water shortages for years with residents resorting to shallow unprotected wells. Most residents in the western and eastern suburbs have been without water for the past two weeks. Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Leslie Gwindi yesterday said the shortages were as a result of "water management."

"We are producing half of what is required and as a result we have to manage the water," he said.

Harare requires about 1 300 megalitres of water per day but is supplying about 600 megalitres.

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