Escalating Zimbabwean Water Crisis: A Call for Action

Community Water Alliance (CWA) has been observing and assessing water delivery within local authorities. Although the crisis of water delivery is in the public domain, the recent escalation of the crisis is a clerical call for action from all stakeholders.

Community Water Alliance members have been assessing the situation on the ground in urban local authorities. The assessment and observation were done in Harare, Chitungwiza, Masvingo, Bulawayo and Gweru. The results coming from the observation and assessment are not pleasing. The water supply situation is continuously deteriorating.

The assessment and observation targeted both municipal water supply as well as water supply complemented through boreholes drilled by International Non-Governmental Organizations. As reported in many publications majority of local authorities are producing below half of the daily water demand. The water crisis is now a wicked problem and it requires multi-faceted approaches to resolve the problem. Dwindling dam levels and drying of shallow wells within local authorities are indications of bad times ahead. Under normal situations wells dry up in September.

The crisis of water delivery will have a huge burden on women and will further compromise health conditions especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. Without water regular hand-washing will be difficult to practice.

Community Water Alliance encourage stakeholders to have plans to deal with water borne diseases even during the cold season, especially if no meaningful action is taken to address the escalating crisis. Our assessment shows seriously compromised hygiene standards within suburbs, with serious concerns in Harare suburbs of Hatcliff, Budiriro and Glen View and majority of suburbs in Bulawayo. Budiriro has around 40 000 households and this is placing pressure on limited water access points in the suburb. CWA strongly encourage stakeholders to prioritize Bulawayo, Harare, Masvingo and Gweru.

Although drilling of solar powered boreholes is viewed as “ruralisation” of urban areas, this intervention is critical at the moment. Such a short term intervention is critical at the moment as the nation prepare strategies to deal with drying dams and wells. Already Chitungwiza Municipality has accepted this sad reality.

We implore the Government of Zimbabwe to give maximum attention to the water sector and work towards realization of the human right to water enshrined on Section 77(a) of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Source: Community Water Alliance