Harare water cuts spark fears of outbreaks

By Helen Kadirire

The continued water cuts in Harare are sparking fears of another outbreak of waterborne diseases, which could worsen the situation in the health delivery sector.

Harare residents spent the weekend without water after the Harare City Council (HCC) shutdown Morton Jaffray (MJ) Water Treatment Works to allow for repairs at Warren Control Treatment Works.

MJ is Harare’s main source of water.

Community Water Alliance chairperson, Hildaberta Rwambiwa, told the Daily News yesterday that considering the city’s history of waterborne disease outbreaks, the water cuts could invite diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

Over the weekend, there was no water in Dzivaresekwa, Mbare, Avondale West, Highfield, Hatfield and Tynwald North.

This list adds to known suburbs that have had perennial water challenges, among them Mabvuku-Tafara, Hatcliffe, Highlands, Msasa Park, Borrowdale, Hopley, Southerly Park and Caledonia.

“There should be contingency plans to avoid this as the city will continue to experience typhoid and cholera yearly,” Rwambiwa said.

Rwambiwa said the city fathers were failing to fulfil their statutory obligation as enshrined in Sections 44 of the Constitution.

Section 44 spells out that the State and every person, including juristic persons, and every institution and agency of the government at every level must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights and freedoms set out in the chapter.

These include the right to food and water.

She said some of the problems militating against the provision of water such as power supply outages at MJ, could be rectified if HCC implements its biogas project at Firle Sewer Treatment Works.

“Expert, Rafik Karaman, says 32 kilogrammes (kgs) of waste can produce 2,91 kilowatts (kWh). The $19,5 million grant from the African Development Bank was expected to cover the construction of a biogas power plant at Firle and its completion date was December 2015,” she said.

“Besides electricity generation, the biogas plant was supposed to reduce water treatment costs by an estimated 50 percent. Firle is consuming approximately $300 000 electricity costs every month yet it holds the key to reducing council’s electricity bill,” she said. DailyNews