Harare seeks Chinese funds for water upgrade

HARARE City Council has tasked new town clerk Hosiah Chisango to negotiate a fresh $280 million loan deal with a Chinese firm for water infrastructure and distribution, as the local authority seeks to tackle outbreaks of waterborne diseases.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Hosiah Chisango
Minutes from a meeting of the council’s environmental management committee show that the local authority had given the greenlight to Chisango to source for a loan from China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) to deal with the dilapidating water distribution network.

“It is resolved that council mandates the town clerk to negotiate (and) finalise the memorandum of understanding with CMEC for a feasibility study and report back to the environmental management committee,” read part of the minutes.

CMEC previously signed a $144 million deal with the council to rehabilitate the Morton Jaffray Waterworks to increase its water supply from 400 mega litres to 650 mega litres per day, but the minutes stated that council had only received $72 million.

The lack of funding for the replacement of infrastructure has resulted in the current status quo, where water supply is erratic, the minutes show.

New infrastructure would reduce leakages of water by 25% and grow council coffers by $21,6 million per annum.

“The project would reduce physical water losses by 72 million litres per day, thus increasing supply coverage by
72 000 households. Areas that were currently not connected to the reticulation system will have access to clean and safe water,” the council said.

Some residential suburbs have had no running water for over two decades, while cholera and typhoid outbreaks continue in Harare.

The target areas for the project include supply and commissioning of water pumps and all accessories for fittings as well as construction of a water pumping main in Mount Hampden, the site of a proposed new city.

According to the minutes, CMEC will send its engineers to undertake the feasibility study on the distribution water network system at their own cost.

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