The government has drilled four new boreholes and rehabilitated 77 others as it moves to address water challenges currently facing Harare and Bulawayo, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.
Addressing a cabinet briefing yesterday, Mutsvangwa said the government was implementing the said measures to mitigate the acute water shortages in the two cities.
“Concerning food and water sustainability, four new boreholes were drilled during the week, while 77 others were rehabilitated and eighty-four hand washing facilities were commissioned at various public places. Harare Metropolitan’s water production is averaging 400ML/day, against demand of 1200ML/day, while Bulawayo City’s water production remains at 153.7ML/day, against a demand of 155ML/day,” she said.
But Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) Programs Officer, Rueben Akili blasted government for restricting the country’s water crisis to Harare and Bulawayo.
“This water crisis is everywhere , we are looking at Harare , Bulawayo, Masvingo, Gweru. We need to address the root cause. We need to understand why these acute shortages keep on recurring.
“We can look into the growth of our cities, cities are growing and demand more service provision. We have infrastructure deficit in terms of water supply and water investment has been a major supply for sometime now,” Akili said.
He highlighted that the demand is not matching the supply since the government is only supplying 340ML per day against the demanded 1200ML.
“That deficit speaks to what is on the ground in high densities. We are talking bout long queues at the local boreholes, women doing laundry in streams. We also have high water pollution in the main sources of water making the water purification processes to be expensive,” Akili added.
Several factors have contributed to country’s severe water problems, including economic decay; perennial droughts affecting the main sources of water, lack of maintenance of the old water infrastructure, the inability to procure the necessary chemicals to treat water sources; political struggles between the central government under the ruling party and the opposition and corruption.
According to Section 77 of Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution, every person has the right to safe, clean, and potable water with the government obligated to take reasonable legislative and other measures within the limits of available resources, to achieve the progressive realization of the right to water.