Assessment on Foreign Currency Availability for Water Chemicals Points to RBZ Complicity in Water Problems

Community Water Alliance accessed documents on how much foreign currency has been availed to water delivery per year by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The documents in possession of Community Water Alliance have demonstrated that the quality and quantity of potable water in Harare is greatly affected by availability of foreign currency needed for the purchase of water treatment chemicals.

In 2017 the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe availed USD 12 886 268.00 for the whole year. The required amount for 2017 was approximately USD 36 000 000.00. The amount availed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is a mere one third of the required amount. Because of this allocation, the quality of potable water in City of Harare which is expected to reflect World Health Organization Guidelines fell from 88.4% in 2016 to 86.5% in 2017. City of Harare supplies water to Chitungwiza Municipality, Norton Town Council, Ruwa Local Board, Epworth Local Board and all the suburbs in Harare including the new ones in Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central. The implications of paltry allocation of foreign currency to water delivery in Harare are not only bad when it comes to sufficiency of supply but have huge implications on the quality of potable water for consumption by citizens.

During the period 2017/2018, cholera and typhoid outbreaks dominated discussions on health, sanitation and water delivery in Zimbabwe. The worthless bearer cheque of 2007/8 birthed a similar trend in Zimbabwe. Besides the much hyped obsolete infrastructure in Harare, the unavailability of foreign currency contributed greatly to the cholera epidemic of 2007/8 in Zimbabwe. Community Water Alliance believes that the current discussions on water delivery in Harare and Zimbabwe at large should not forget the implications of paltry allocation of foreign currency on sufficiency and potability of water delivery.

The current short supply of foreign currency in Harare has forced the Local Authority to reduce daily water production from 420 megalitres per day to less than 100 megalitres per day. The daily water demand in Harare ranges from 800 to 1200 megalitres. 62% of water produced daily by City of Harare is lost through leakages, illegal connections and commercial losses.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is therefore complicity in the challenges of water delivery in Harare. We therefore call for peaceful citizen action targeting the RBZ so that priority is given to water treatment chemicals. Citizens have an option to either act of issues affecting them or die silently from cholera and typhoid.

Source: Community Water Alliance