Harare residents have bemoaned the water crisis currently bedevilling the city after Harare City Council (HCC) shut down Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant on Wednesday night due to a shortage of water treatment chemicals.
In a notice to residents on Thursday morning, the City of Harare said the Morton Jaffray Waterworks would be shut for at least two days starting this past Wednesday.
Council spokesperson Innocent Ruwende said suppliers had failed to provide aluminium sulphate and chlorine gas, key ingredients in water treatment.
Meanwhile, Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) acting director Reuben Akili urged the local authority to find long-term measures to address the shortage of chemicals. Said Akili:
The issue of water treatment chemicals has become a perennial issue for the City of Harare mainly emanating from poor revenue collection.
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 solutions to the water problems.
The local authority discharges waste into Lake Chivero, which increases water purification costs, while there is the continued destruction of wetlands, which also purify water for free. If they are kept well, they reduce water treatment costs.
Harare Residents Trust (HRT) director Precious Shumba blamed unnamed individuals that deal with council for Harare’s water woes. He said:
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.
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.