City suffers with 70,000 illegal water users

Harare City Council is losing thousands of dollars every month from 70,000 unregistered water connections, The Zimbabwean has learnt.

“The city has a total of 192,000 registered water connections and an estimated high rate of unregistered connections numbering 70,000,” revealed Harare water director Christopher Zvobgo.

He said his department had a mandate to supply drinkable water to Harare, Chitungwiza, Epworth, Ruwa and Norton Town Councils with a combined estimated total population of about 4.5m people. Harare alone has an estimated population of 2.5m people. “The water demand for such a population is 1,200 mega litres a day but we are currently producing only 450 mega litres day,” he said. “With the $144m China Exim Bank loan we will be able to restore our two water treatment works – Morton Jaffray (MJ) and Prince Edward (PE) – waterworks to their installed treatment capacity of 704 mega litres a day,” he said.

Zvobgo said the ongoing rehabilitation of the water and sewer treatment and distribution works would help solve faults and curb illegal activities in the system. “We have so far received 30 per cent of the ICT equipment from China for the computerisation and networking of all district offices, which will go a long way in monitoring and managing the water grid.

“The 36-month project will bring us improved water supplies from the current 40 per cent to 80 per cent daily, improve service to the rest of suburbs to a minimum of two or three days a week. We expect revenue to increase by $7m and to reduce pollution of the environment and water sources,” he said.

Zvobgo said the city needed $2.95bn to do a complete overhaul of the Greater Harare water system.

“Two new dams with capacity of 750 mega litres a day are needed to increase the current water treatment capacity in the region to 1,450 mega litres a day.

“The entirely new primary and secondary bulk water infrastructure would bring us an upgraded water reticulation network, a new wastewater network for the Harare Metropolitan region and implementation of appropriate technologies to enhance the maintenance and operations of the water services network,” he said.