Zimbabwe Water and Sanitation Project: Relief for Chitungwiza Residents

“For every drop of water you waste, you must know that somewhere on earth, someone is desperately looking for a drop of water!” Novelist and thinker Mehmet Murat Ildan’s warning could be referring to the likes of 39-year-old Mercy Chimusoro of Zengeza 3 Extension D, Chitungwiza and her family.

Chimusoro and her family only experienced reliable water supply in the first two years after they moved to their new home in 2001. The next 14 years were marked by serious water shortages; Sometimes the taps remained completely dry for an entire month.

“It was unbearable, because water is life. For me to do laundry for the family, bath, cook, clean and flush the toilet and to practice good hygiene generally, I need water.”

“We would wake up early in the morning to fetch water at city council offices (about one kilometre away). However, it was still not enough as we were sometimes limited to only 60 litres a day,” said the mother of three. To save the limited precious liquid, Chimusoro was forced to share one bucket of bathing water with her husband as he prepared to leave for work.

“We would share a 10-litre bucket of water but made sure we left some for mopping the house, that is how bad it was,” she said. This is against the world standard of 15 litres of water per person per day.

Chitungwiza Municipality is a beneficiary of ZimFund’s Urgent Water Supply and Sanitation Rehabilitation project (UWSSRP) Phase I and Phase II. UWSSRP Phase I was completed in 2015 while Phase II projects are set for completion by year end. Under UWSSRP Phase I water supply segment, the project improved water production through refurbishment of treatment plants.

Chitungwiza Municipality does not have its own water treatment plant, therefore, it relies on Harare’s Prince Edward Water Treatment Plant, which was rehabilitated under ZimFund Phase I.

ZimFund intervention enabled the treatment plant to increase water production from an average of 45 Megalitres a day to 70 Megalitres a day. As a result, water supply to Chitungwiza was increased from 12 Megalitres a day to 25 Megalitres a day.

Despite an increase in water supply to Chitungwiza, some residents could not get water owing to old and broken pipes, which prevented water from getting to their homes.

To that end, UWSSRP Phase II covered the rehabilitation works of the water distribution network, which included replacement of old and broken down pipes in St Mary’s and Zengeza area to reduce water losses along the distribution channel as well as improvement of the water supply network with extensions in Seke area covering Units N, O, P and G. These works, which are benefitting approximately 1,300 households (about 7800 individuals) in Chitungwiza were completed in September 2017 bringing a sigh of relief to ordinary residents such as Chimusoro.

“Since 2017 when replacement of old and broken pipes was completed in our area, water challenges are now an issue of the past, we now have water seven days a week unless there is a fault being attended to,” Chimusoro said.

“I can now bath as and when I want, water my garden, do laundry, practice good hygiene and pay my bills without complaints,” she smiles as she leans on the gate of her house surrounded by a colorful flower garden and well-manicured lawn.

Finally Getting Water: Fourteen year-old Mercy Chimusoro’s daughter, Rumbidzai Chimusoro of Zengeza 3 Extension D, Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. At least 1,300 households in Chitungwiza are now getting water from their taps after the ZimFund project replaced old and broken down water distribution pipes in their area.

ZimFund is a US$145 million water and sanitation and energy programme established in 2010 after the 2008 Cholera outbreak. Its donors include; Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. ZimFund is managed by the African Development Bank as part of its operations to improve living conditions in Zimbabwe. The Bank supports other activities in Zimbabwe including; agriculture, energy, transport, private sector and economic and financial governance.

Contact: s.mlotshwa@afdb.org