By Idah Mhetu
President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government have committed to helping the country’s capital Harare with funding to decisively deal with its water woes.
Mnangagwa told journalists after a familiarisation tour of the Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant on Monday, that Harare will now get more water from Manyame Dam which requires only two chemicals as opposed to Lake Chivero, in which the municipality continues to sink millions every month buying nine chemicals to purify water.
“We have agreed that it is cheaper to get water from Manyame than from Chivero. We can still achieve clean water from Manyame. It costs money but my government is financing the programme. We want this problem to be behind us. For us to achieve this, all the stakeholders I met today (Monday) will do their part and then government will do its part in terms of financing the project,” said Mnangagwa.
Harare has been struggling to provide clean water to residents with outbreaks of waterborne diseases now a common occurrence.
Chivero has become highly polluted with the invading water hyacinth weed as well as raw sewer and other industrial chemicals pouring into the capital’s foremost water supply reservoir.
Town Clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango said the municipality supported central government’s idea.
“The issue is when we look at the quality of the water in the two dams; that is Lakes Chivero and Manyame, it would be better if we blend it. Manyame’s water is cleaner and we can take advantage of that,” said Chisango.
Last month, government ordered the Harare City Council and other local authorities to abandon all the tenders they had been using to procure water treatment chemicals after council shut down Morton Jaffray over failure to access foreign currency for chemicals.
Chisango however said the move to focus on Lake Manyame will come with higher electricity costs.
“Although there will be more costs in terms of electricity but when you balance it, you will find that it is better to get cleaner water for treatment. That’s the solution but it needs the supply and installation of pumps,” said Chaisango.