BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA/ PRIDE MZARABANI
THE Harare City Council (HCC) has run out of water treatment chemicals, forcing the local authority to shut down the Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant.
In a notice to residents, HCC said the Morton Jaffray water works would be shut for two days starting this past Wednesday.
“There will be disruptions in water supplies, while modalities are being worked to restore normal services within the indicated period. We apologise for the inconvenience caused during the unplanned shutdown as all efforts are being made to revert to normal service schedules,” the notice read.
Council spokesperson Innocent Ruwende said suppliers had failed to provide aluminium sulphate and chlorine gas, key ingredients in water treatment.
“Our two major suppliers have failed to supply our requirement of chemicals,” Ruwende
“But we hope that the situation will be resolved. The chemicals are sourced abroad, and we cannot get them locally. We have to wait for the supplier to resolve their issues and be able to provide adequate supply.”
The shortage of water treatment chemicals is a perennial challenge afflicting HCC, resulting in periodic intermittent water cuts.
Combined Harare Residents Association acting director Reuben Akili said long-lasting solutions were required to deal with stock-outs of the chemicals.
“The issue of water treatment chemicals has become a perennial issue for the City of Harare mainly emanating from poor revenue collection,” Akili said, while blaming the Local Government ministry of interfering in council operations.
“The challenge we have faced for a long time is that of interference by the Local Government minister on the use of devolution funds which can be used for long term solution to the water problems,” Akili said.
“The local authority discharges waste into Lake Chivero, which increases water purification costs, while there is continued destruction of wetlands, which also purify water for free. If they are kept well, they reduce water treatment costs.”
Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba said it was most unfortunate that the council did not provide residents with water bowsers to ease the challenges of water shortages.
“The City of Harare is getting supplies for water treatment chemicals from companies that belong to individuals who the council may not be able to sanction for gross incompetence,” Shumba added.
“The residents have come to realise that the City of Harare has no capacity to deliver adequate water to the ratepayers. It has become predictable that residents go for weekends without water.”