The embattled Harare City Council has come under attack from prominent human rights organization Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) over the supply of dirty water following outbreaks of typhoid in some parts of the city.
ZLHR bemoaned how the city fathers and central government continue failing to curb the outbreaks of ‘medieval water-borne diseases”.
In a statement released in conjunction with CommunityWater Alliance (CWA) the organisations said, “the prevailing situation in high density suburbs of Glen View and Budiriro is an affront to citizen’s fundamental rights to healthcare, the right to clean, safe and potable water and the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health.”
“Over the years we have previously highlighted the key drivers of the outbreak of typhoid and other water-borne diseases which include the erratic supplies of clean water in most urban communities, the supply of contaminated water and failure to attend to the leaking of raw sewage into the environment”, they said.
The organizations added that they, “had also condemned the continued destruction of wetlands in Harare as wetlands play a critical role in purifying groundwater, which can also minimize the contamination of sources of water”.
Typhoid cases were recorded recently in some parts of Harare’s high-density suburbs with more than 800 cases of typhoid recorded since January and several people have received treatment.
In defence, Harare City Council says shortages of foreign currency to acquire chemicals for the purification of water, a poor rainy season and the growing demand, are some of the challenges.
In March Town Clerk Mr. Hosiah Chisango confirmed that they had run out of the liquid and granular aluminum, lime, and HTH with only 25 cubic metres of aluminum sulphate in stock.
Initiatives to grow the water base have also failed to bring positive results.
“Harare has had several water and sanitation infrastructure projects, but these have not solved the challenges we are facing.”
“Currently, we are implementing a water demand management system because water is not enough.
“We had a poor rainy season and demand continues to outstrip supply”, he said.
The problems in Harare have also affected dormitory towns of Chitungwiza and Norton which are both suffering acute water shortages.