Meeting strategises to end Sentosa’s 26yr water crisis

19 Apr, 2024 - 00:04 0 Views
Meeting strategises to end Sentosa’s 26yr water crisis Ward 17 Residents and Ratepayers Association secretary, Mr Michael Laban (in green top) addresses a meeting on the Sentosa water crisis while Ward 17 Councillor Happymore Gotora (dark suit) and residents follow.

Suburban

John Vekris 

A STAKEHOLDERS’ meeting on the water crisis at Sentosa Heights was held on Sunday, 14th April, at Reekworth Nursery School in the suburb.

It was attended by Ward 17 Councillor Gotora, a Mr Gonamombe, Foreman, Harare Water, and more than 30 Sentosa residents, plus some representatives of the Ward 17 Residents and Ratepayers Association.

This was the first opportunity local residents have had to meet their new Councillor, since Sentosa joined the new Ward 17, following last year’s delimitation exercise.

During the one and a half hours or so meeting, residents emphasised the fact that many of them have not had a reliable, meaningful supply of water for very many years: at least one of them for 26 years.

Mr Jairos Gonamombe, who explained that he has worked for Harare Water in this area for the past twenty-one years, explained that water supply from Emerald Hill to Sentosa does not have enough pressure to reach the higher parts of the suburb.

“So we are going to sit down with our city planners and engineers to request a direct line to direct pumping from Meyrick Park – there is a huge pipe there which we want to connect to here.”

However, Sentosa residents were quick to express their deep disappointment at how long they had been neglected by City of Harare (CoH).

“Why has it taken twenty-one years to get to this meeting,” asked one.

“Twenty-one years, but you never found a solution,” queried another.

A third resident pointed out in detail that, after many years with many totally dry taps around the suburb, and following a meeting in 2019, after which new pumps were installed at Emerald Hill, there had been erratic water supply, maybe once a month, at very low pressure, which again dried up around 2021.

Cllr Gotora then stepped in: “I want to assure you that, after this meeting, we will start doing something to come up with a lasting solution. It is my desire that every household will receive water at a minimum at least twice a week.  . . . [about limited production at Morton Jaffray] . . .  . . . This scarce commodity must be shared equally by all residents at least twice a week. We are going to have a meeting on Monday or Tuesday with all the senior engineers so that we come up with a lasting solution. What we want is tangible results – everyone to have access to water. And I am committed to make sure that that happens.”

Added Cllr Gotora: “At the end of the day everyone must have access to water. Water from Emerald Hill cannot manage . . .  . . . (because of low pressure). The only solution we have is to connect this area directly to the bigger pipe from Meyrick Park . . . a bigger pump with (enough) pressure to pump water to the top of (this hill).”

It was then agreed to set up a brand new dedicated Sentosa water WhatsApp group chat, including Messrs Gonamombe and Mushandu from City of Harare Water, for residents to know when reliable water supply has finally been restored to the area, and to report any persisting individual problems.

Another Sentosa resident highlighted a related problem: “It would be fairer to have meters that limit each household to, say 200 litres per week, so that you are not filling up all these (water storage) tanks and we, at the end of the line, don’t get any.”

Cllr Gotora acknowledged that this was a pertinent issue and promised to raise it with the CoH engineers in the coming week.

Yet another resident pointed out that, in 2019, rebates of $300-400 were agreed with CoH and minuted, before being authorised by the then Mayor Herbert Gomba. But, five years on, nothing has happened; yet other suburbs have got similar rebates.

Cllr Gotota: “I was never told about that. Please send me the details.”

It was also suggested at this meeting that the original amount should be increased as residents have now gone some additional years without water.

Finally, regarding timelines, Cllr Gotora said: “I cannot give anything specific. I will only have a clear picture when I meet with the engineers about all that needs to be done. But my desire is that it’s going to be done as soon as possible. And I will make sure I will push things.”

The meeting then concluded by addressing another big problem in this part of the ward: refuse collection.

Cllr Gotora explained that every part of Harare is supposed to have a collection at least once in 14 days.

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