Many youths have resorted to selling a 20-liter bucket of water for $5 as serious water shortages hit most suburbs in Harare.
Harare’s major water treatment plant, Morton Jaffray, which has the capacity to supply about 700 megalitres a day, however for several years it has been running at less than half that capacity, resulting in major water shortages.
Over the last few days, the council went on to further reduce water output from 320 million litres a day to 150 million litres due to failure to pay for aluminum sulphate the first critical chemical that is used in the purification process.
Harare City’s acting director for water Engineer Mabhena Moyo said the council was working around the clock to improve water supplies.
“We were pumping an average of 320 megalitres per day from the five truckloads of aluminum sulphate which we were receiving from Zimphos. Our supplies have reduced to two truckloads over the past three to four days and the average water being pumped is 150 megalitres,” said Eng Moyo.
Left with no choice, desperate Harare residents have resorted to buying water from enterprising youths who sell a 20-litre bucket of water for $5. Whilst, other residents are relying on the few boreholes available, or wells, many of which are not protected, sparking fears of outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
Moreover, the overcrowding at boreholes and wells, with the residents not maintaining social distancing, is also another development that could accelerate the spread of Covid-19.
A resident, Mr. Charles Kamhuka, argued that the water crisis was exposing them to diseases.
“The water situation is bad, currently we are already fearful of Covid-19, cholera, and typhoid if water the crisis persists,” he said.
Harare Residents Trust director Mr. Precious Shumba said the council should prioritize water supply and honor its debts with water chemical suppliers especially now that, part of Covid-19 preventive measures includes regular washing of hands with running water.
“Residents deserve consistent water supplies as chemicals should be stocked for at least six months in advance so that we will not experience such a scenario,” he said.