Chemicals shortage stalls optimum water production

17 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views


THE City of Harare is presently pumping only 320 megalitres of water per day against a demand of around 450 megalitres per day for the capital city because of lack of major chemicals needed to treat water to make it potable.

This was revealed by acting town clerk, Engineer Phakamile Moyo, during a tour of Morton Jaffray and Warren Control Water Works on Wednesday this week.

Eng Moyo said the target was to pump 520 megalitres per day by December this year.

“The installed capacity for Morton Jaffray plant is 640 megalitres per day and the available capacity right now is around 450 megalitres per day and we are currently pumping 320 megalitres per day,” he said.

“So, the difference from 450 to 320 megalitres is due to lack of major chemicals for disinfecting chlorine, our major suppliers from South Africa cannot meet the demand because they are the sole suppliers to this country.

“Our target is to pump 520 megalitres per day by December 2022 but, as you can see, part of the work that is going on, part of it is half done and that is because of unavailability funds.”

Eng Moyo said the council was waiting for the disbursement of devolution funds to continue with the rehabilitation programme at Morton Jaffray.

“We have been promised devolution funds from the Treasury but the funds have not been disbursed. But we hope that once that money is disbursed, we can start pumping 520 megalitres per day,” he said.

Eng Moyo added that some contractors had left the work site due to non-payment.

“Currently, we have filters, as you can see our filters are down, we need to rehabilitate them, the clarifier cannot work without the filters,” he said.

“The contractor for the other clarifier left the site because of non-payment and we also have ongoing work at the Darwendale plant station where five pumps are being installed.”

According to Eng Moyo, the ancillary work will cost about $200 million, chlorine dioxide costs $320 million, the filters are around $175 million and pump stations US$1,3 million.

Speaking at the same event, Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes Minister, Dr Joram Gumbo, said Morton Jaffray was no longer fit to service the whole of Harare due to the increase in population.

“It is a matter of regret that the provision of proper and adequate sanitation remains a stain on the performance of most of our urban local authorities,” he said.

“The tragedy with many of our local authorities is that the rapid increase in population has not been matched by commensurate development and rehabilitation of requisite water and sanitation infrastructure.

“The result has been that with an ageing water supply system, some suburbs within the jurisdiction of the City of Harare, have gone for years without accessing the precious liquid resulting in past outbreaks of cholera in areas such as Budiriro and Glen View.

“We should never allow a situation where residents of our cities are afflicted by such prehistoric diseases because we have failed to provide the requisite sanitation infrastructure.”

Dr Gumbo said the water infrastructure is in dire need of upgrading if it is to cope with the rapid expansion in urban settlements.

“The plant infrastructure at Morton Jaffray Water Works was installed before Independence and is no longer fit for purpose,” he said.

“It should also be noted that at the time of installation, the infrastructure was meant to cater for a very small population. The water infrastructure is, therefore, in dire need of upgrading if it is to cope with the rapid expansion in urban settlements.

“His Excellency, the President has on numerous occasions underscored the need for urban local councils to prioritise the delivery of quality service to the people.

“It is my hope that the projects we have toured are a response to his appeal for local authorities to provide better sanitation infrastructure for ratepayers in their jurisdictions.

“It is for this reason that the Government has prioritised the upgrading, and rehabilitation of water infrastructure, and has made significant strides, through the release of resources, under the auspices of Devolution Funds.”

Dr Gumbo urged the City of Harare to find a lasting solution to the loss of treated water due to leakages.

“I raise this point because it is a common sight for burst water pipes to remain unattended for weeks while residents yearn for water in the townships.

“I am keen to see action being taken to plug the water leakages that have bedevilled the city for many years.” – HMetro

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