The Combined Harare Residents Association joins the world in commemoration of the World Water Week from 23-27th of August being celebrated under the theme “Building Resilience Faster.”
The global water partners mainly NGOs, CSOs, governments, water experts, activists and professionals among others are seeking to address the climate crisis, water scarcity, food security, health, biodiversity and the impact of Covid-19.
The commemorations come against a background where Harare has become a water insecure city mainly caused by climate variability patterns, corruption, bad governance, destruction of wetlands, water pollution and inadequate financing for water infrastructure.
Currently the City is producing 340 megalitres per day against a demand of 1200 megalitres per day. The scarcity and erratic water supplies in the Capital has seen residents relying on shallow wells and rivers to access water for domestic purposes which expose them to water borne diseases.
Women have been subjected to gender based violence, sextortion and many forms of abuse as they try to access water on the available few public water points in communities.
The situation has been further worsened by the advent of Covid-19 pandemic which has seen residents mainly women and girls rallying at public water points making it difficult to enforce Covid-19 protocols and guidelines of wearing face masks, physical and social distancing.
On the other hand, citizens have been thrown to the periphery of local governance which has been manifested by the absence of the voice of citizens in policy making on planning and natural resource management.
We therefore recommend the following;
- Implementation of devolution as provided by Chapter 14 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe by giving local people power to decide on the management of their local natural resources
- Inclusive policy and decision making on both water and environmental management
- Increase fiscal commitment on water for dam construction and rehabilitation of sewer treatment plants in the 2022 budgets for both central government and City of Harare.
- City of Harare must allow development partners to provide more alternative water sources such as solarized boreholes to areas that are not receiving water supplies, improve water production and water supply coverage as a strategy to decongest public water points.
- Provision of access to information as provided by Section 62 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe for the purposes of promoting public accountability in water and environmental governance.
CHRA remains committed in advocating for good local governance, collaborate with the government and non-state actors in improving water service provision.
Source: Combined Harare Residents Association