Harare Water Woes a Menace

by Gift Mashoko

It is the City Councils’ mandate to provide efficient and effective service provision like water, roads, refuse collection, street lights among others.

It is these services that the MDC led councils are failing to provide yet they expect people to pay rates so that they can pay each other hefty salaries contrary to their mandate. Harare City Council and Chitungwiza Municipalities have failed to provide the most essential commodity of all, water and for those who get it, it is always being shut down without justified explanation and with no back-up plan for the residents.

Just recently Harare City Council announced in a short notice that it would be shutting down its main water treatment plant to allow for repairs at Morton Jaffray water works. This has not been the first time Harare City Council shut down water for repairs as in first quarter of the year, the shutdowns were almost every week, leaving people wondering what kind of repairs these were.

For most households this was and is almost always a challenge seeing that they are not prepared and do not even have enough containers to last them a day. With children at home over the weekend and considering that most households do their laundry over the weekend this has been a disaster.

It is usually a day before the water shutdown that Harare City Council announces that it would be shutting down and most people will not be aware as they do not read the paper or hear from others. Water borne diseases do not need many days to become an outbreak. This one weekend could have been short but for an unprepared person with children, i am sure it was a nightmare.

One only asks, could the city fathers not find temporary measures to assist the residents? This is just one instance. There are areas in the Southern parts of Harare like Mbare which have gone for weeks with no water and the Harare City Council seem not to care as they turn a blind eye to this problem. People are seen queuing for water and carrying water buckets as if they are in the rural areas. Is Harare still the Sunshine City it once was or it is slowly being turned into a Growth Point?

Harare is not the only MDC led Council that is depriving people of their deserved right to water. Chitungwiza is another serious case and it seems people are now living in harmony with their lack of service provision. Water coming out of the taps is rare occurrence, hence people sometimes wake up to flooded houses after water comes out of their almost always dry taps in the dead of the night and shut down before they wake up. This is surely not fair.

In the event of water shut down, councils should provide tanks of clean water and distribute them evenly in the residential areas. It is best to notify people in time about the shutdown for them to prepare and stock enough water.

Water is not just a service that needs to be provided but a right. People cannot live without water, they cannot even go for a day without water not only water but clean water.