Zimbabwe’s water infrastructure problems seem daunting, but solutions include instituting transparency in project procurement and spending.
In 2018 Cape Town, South Africa, barely avoided shutting off the taps of its water system in the entire city.
In 2019, the awful reality of this same situation had hit Harare, Zimbabwe, and two million residents have had their access to running water shut off due to drought and lack of supply. Dams ran dry, and water treatment plants could no longer be in service.
Climate Home News reports:
“There is a rotational water supply within the five towns,” Harare city council corporate communications manager Michael Chideme said. “Some people are getting water five days a week, especially in the western suburbs, but the northern suburbs are going for weeks without a drop in their taps.”
Chideme said people were either depending on water merchants, open wells, streams or several council-drilled boreholes. He said that the situation is bad.
Dr Jean-Marie Kileshye from WaterNet warned Harare’s water was highly polluted: “Water-borne diseases linked to these boreholes are on the rise, but people have had to take in their own hands to access water supply because the utility has failed to provide water.”
Hardlife Mudzingwa of Harare’s Community Water Alliance said ten typhoid cases were reported during the first week of July in the southwestern suburb of Glen View.
Harare’s water is undrinkable until treated due to pollution from sewage, agricultural waste, and mining waste.
The treatment can no longer take place because of the dams being too low.
The city’s water system was designed to service 350,000 people, not the current 4.5 million that reside there, so, unsurprisingly, this crisis continues.
Global press journal reports that government corruption, unpaid rates by residents, and low revenue collected by the city council contribute to the government’s inability to finish or improve water infrastructure projects to address the problem.
Zimbabwe’s water problem is getting worse, and residents have taken matters into their own hands by digging boreholes to provide water for themselves. Still, this practice is unsustainable and soon deplete all water tables, affecting the integrity of infrastructure and buildings.
As mentioned earlier, Zimbabwe’s water infrastructure problems seem daunting, but solutions exist, such as instituting government transparency in project procurement and spending, educating citizens and businesses about sustainable water practices, water preservation, and conservation.