By Kirsty Manheru
The abundant rains that the country is receiving this season may be of no avail to Harare’s water woes, as much of it is being lost as runoff, suspended Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume has said.
Harare’s water situation has been critical for years and while the well-to-do citizens have managed to avoid the challenge by drilling boreholes, the poor residents are resorting to unsafe water sources.
At a time the country is celebrating dam capacity levels that were last reached in years, Mafume told Open Council that Harare has missed a water harvesting opportunity that would have gone a long way in addressing the water crisis through its insufficient dams.
“It is a positive note that we have been receiving abundant rains this season, but as far as Harare’s water situation is concerned, I’m afraid this will not have significant effect,” Mafume said.
He added, “There is a great disparity between the dams Harare has against the population they have to cater for.
“We simply need more dams, much of this rainwater is flowing through to the Indian Ocean because we lack enough facilities to trap this water.”
For a while, Harare and Chitungwiza have been relyng on Lake Chhivero and Manyame, however, due to the growing population and continued developmental work the demand appears to have risen higher than the dams’ capacities.
Weighing on the matter, government’s water monitoring body, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) refuted these claims saying most towns have enough dams to meet the demand.
“Water shortages in the country, especially in major urban areas, cannot and should not be exclusively viewed from a point of lack of dams as most urban areas have sufficient dams to meet their water requirements.
“The value chain has to be interrogated, including the availability of infrastructure to treat water and distribute it to residents, which is the responsibility of local authorities,” ZINWA Corporate Communications and Marketing Manager, Marjorie Munyonga said.
Since independence, the Government constructed a decent number of dams that include Osborne Dam, Bubi-Lupane Dam, Mtshabezi Dam, Mashoko Dam, Tugwi-Mukosi Dam, Marovanyati Dam, Matezva Dam, Mutange Dam, Makuti Dam, Mutawatawa and Wenimbi Dam among others.
Currently, ZINWA is implementing in excess of 10 dam projects aimed at helping improve the water situation around the country and these include Gwayi-Shangani Dam, Silverstroom Dam, Bindura Dam, Chivhu Dam, Semwa Dam, Tuli-Manyange Dam, Dande Dam and Tunnel.