Statement on City of Harare Plans to Implement Water Rationing

City of Harare is planning to launch water rationing in the coming week as a response to the current water crisis in Harare.

Currently City of Harare is producing 272 megalitres per day against an estimated daily demand of 800 megalitres. Of the 272 megalitres currently produced more than 52% is lost through leakages and other loses. This means an estimated 4,5 million residents in Greater Harare are accessing on average 135 megalitres per day.

City of Harare is planning to further reduce daily water production. The reasons given by City of Harare for reducing water production are extremely poor raw water quality and the dwindling of water levels in Lake Chivero. The City of Harare proposed water rationing scheme which is synonymous to the yesteryear disastrous South African “Operation Gcina Amanzi” is strong statement on the health of residents in Harare.

Community Water Alliance registered these concerns long back and raised a red flag on the following issues in Harare:

1) Poor catchment management emanating from poor planning by City of Harare Department of Works, complacency the Environmental Management Agency to stamp its authority on preservation of wetlands and the exclusion of Catchment Councils (particularly Upper Manyame Catchment Council) in City of Harare’s one stop shop.

2) Continuous pollution of water bodies in Harare, particularly from Crowborough Sewer Treatment Plant and Chitungwiza Municipality’s disposal of untreated human waste into Marimba and Manyame rivers respectively.

3) Failure by City of Harare’s water department to have climate change and variability strategy and policy.

As Community Water Alliance we demand the following from City of Harare, Environment Management Agency, Zimbabwe National Water Authority, Ministry of Finance and Parliament of Zimbabwe:

1) City of Harare water department should urgently come up with a short, medium and long term plan on the management of Harare’s Catchment. Wetlands preservation, pollution control and rehabilitation of streams are priority issues.

2) The Minister of Finance should relook at his 2019 Budget and revise the ridiculous 2,7% allocated to water and sanitation. Resources for rehabilitation of sewer treatment plants are needed by 15 January 2019.

3) The Environmental Management Agency, Zimbabwe National Water Authority and Upper Manyame Catchment Council must urgently come in to address pollution of water bodies and management of the Catchment in Harare.

4) Parliament of Zimbabwe must play an oversight role on funds meant to rehabilitate sewer treatment plants and tender processes on water treatment chemicals. The State Procurement Board which falls under the Office of President and Cabinet must provide a detailed explanation on tenders awarded to sewer treatment plants and water treatment chemicals in Harare.

As the water movement makes these demands, citizens on the ground are being engaged so that they hold duty bearers accountable to their obligations to fulfill; protect and respect the human right to water as provided for under Section 44 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Source: Community Water Alliance

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