Zimbabwe: COVID-19 - Harare Residents Sue City, Government Over Clean Water Supply

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has approached the High Court seeking at order to compel the local authority to supply uninterrupted clean water to residents during the current government declared 21-day national lockdown to combat the further spread of the pandemic.

The association is arguing that as residents continue to gather at central water points such as boreholes and other communal water sources, it is very probable that due to pressure for limited water, the guidelines on social distancing will not be observed.

In addition, this will lead to residents assuming greater risk of contracting the corona virus and getting sick with COVID 19.

CHRA wants the application to be heard on an urgent basis because of reasons, which appear in the averments of its affidavit.

"The public health situation that has prompted the application is extremely urgent and failure to act quickly and decisively can lead to loss of untold numbers of lives," reads the court papers.

The City of Harare is cited as the 1st Respondent, Local Government Ministry as the 2nd and Health Ministry and Finance Ministry as 3rd and 4th Respondents respectively.

The residents group wants the city ordered to purchase water from bulk water suppliers and deploy teams to distribute the necessity to households, at ward level, from moving water tanks in a manner that does not involve the convergence of too many people in one place.

CHRA also wants the city and government ordered to purchase water treatment chemicals forthwith which will enable the local authority to increase its water supply from the current 173 mega litres to about 500 mega litres a day.

The group wants "the 1st and 3rd Respondents to deploy marshals at existing communal water points to ensure that the people coming to collect water adhere to the social distancing guidelines and also to disseminate sanitisers".

It also wants authorities ordered to ensure it provides adequate oversight and monitoring to Harare in its implementation of the measures and to avail the financial resources required to implement the measures.

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