By Staff Reporter
Ward 17 Councillor Jacob Mafume has called on residents of Harare to peruse the Water Act and stop blaming the MDC run council for water challenges being faced in the capital as all water bodies and related issues rest with the President at law.
Mafume was speaking at a media training on community reporting organised by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) in Harare Wednesday.
“There has been a lack of funding in water sources to service Harare by government since independence, we are drinking water that was supposed to have catered for only 500 000 residents.
“We should have built Kunzvi, Musami and Muda dams which had been designed by the colonial government to deal with the expansion of Harare and greater Harare area,” said Mafume who was representing mayor Herbert Gomba.
“Residents of Harare should understand that our duty is distribution not production of water, that and ownership of water resources rest with their President according to the Water Act, he is solely in charge of that and responsible for their current challenges.”
The Water Act of 1998 removed all private ownership of water and placed it in the President’s Office.
“Subject to this Act, all water is vested in the President; No private ownership of water; No person shall be entitled to ownership of any water in Zimbabwe and no water shall be stored, abstracted, apportioned, controlled, diverted, used or in any way dealt with except in accordance with this Act.
“No person shall be entitled to ownership of any water in Zimbabwe and no water shall be stored, abstracted, apportioned, controlled, diverted, used or in any way dealt with except in accordance with this Act,” reads the 1998 legislation.
Section 6 (1) of the Act places responsibility on the Environment and Water Minister to guide the orderly and integrated planning of the optimum development, utilization and protection of the country’s water resources in the national interest to ensure the availability of water to all citizens for primary purposes.
Councils are now involved only when it comes to its distribution and reticulation.
Up until recently Harare only had one source of water, Lake Chivero that was originally built to hold the growing city’s sewer according to Mafume.
Manyame Dam is now on course to be supplying water to the capital although he added it is not enough.
Mafume took a dig at government’s decision to build lakes for people in far flung areas where he argued they are yet to find meaningful use for the large water bodies.
“Government has concentrated on building water sources used by crocodiles and canoes, the water is just sitting there and Tugwi Mukosi the largest in land lake built in Zimbabwe is a relevant example.
“There has been no attempt to ease the water challenge for the three million in Harare, maybe it is because you are seen as opposition supporters,” he added.
Council is distributing some 200 megalitres per day through a strict water rationing scheme against a demand of 1 800.