Chipo Katsidzira Manicaland Correspondent
Government will prioritise the rehabilitation of non-functional water and sanitation infrastructure across the country to improve health and hygiene in both rural and urban communities.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Permanent Secretary in his ministry, Engineer Ringson Chitsiko, during a joint review meeting held in Mutare last week, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri said the recurrence of water -borne diseases and dilapidated infrastructure were among the major reasons hampering Government and its partners’ efforts towards the recovery of the water and sanitation sector.
He said the level of water pollution in urban areas has reached alarming levels and needs to be curbed.
“Zimbabwe’s WASH sector has a history of coordination by the National Action Committee and its sub-structures,” said Minister Shiri.
“However, the period 2000-2010 witnessed the reversal of the gains registered over the two decades of WASH interventions largely due to economic challenges, reduction in external support, high staff turnover and weakened coordination mechanisms and operation and maintenance systems.”
Minister Shiri said it was sad to note that Zimbabwe was among countries that failed to meet the WASH Millennium Development Goals, a development which makes attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals target a tall order. He said Government needed an estimated US$64 million per year to meet SDG targets and US$103 million for sanitation and hygiene until 2030.
“Government, however, continues to lead in the sector recovery process which is anchored on sustainability of WASH service delivery through rehabilitation of non-functional water and sanitation infrastructure, including health and hygiene promotion for improved behaviours and practices among rural and urban communities,” said Minister Shiri.
He said provision of adequate clean and safe water was a priority.
Minister Shiri said Government prioritised the urgent rehabilitation of waste water treatment plants and distribution to all the 32 urban local authorities.
Minister Shiri urged people to preserve wet lands in urban areas as it is a major source of water for humans and the wildlife.
He said human activities such as cultivation and sand mining along the rivers was causing severe siltation of water sources and should be controlled.