Govt secures $141m for Harare water

HARARE - Finance minister Tendai Biti has said government secured $141 million to help ease water woes in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.

“We are expecting the disbursement of the funds to start early June and this money will go towards the purchasing of pipes, filters and pumps for the city of Harare,” Biti told a news conference on the state of the economy yesterday.

Initially designed for 300 000 people, Harare’s water supply system is now struggling to cope with a population estimated at more than 2,5 million people.

“Harare pumps about 600 mega-litres of water per day but 40 percent of this is lost through leakages while 10 percent is lost to thieves and we hope the new piping will help bring water to areas that had become like deserts,” he said.

Water demand in Harare alone is currently at 1 200 mega-litres a day yet the municipality is currently producing 620 mega-litres for Harare, Chitungwiza and Norton.

Nonetheless, the money secured by government could prove to be a drop in the ocean after Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda recently revealed that the city requires a staggering $2,5 billion to roll out a programme to address the city’s water problems.

Last year researcher and water expert Christopher Magadza said due to loss of wetlands, water being supplied in Harare contains 50 percent recycled urine.

‘‘So, much water in Lake Chivero right now is sewage,” said Magadza.

“For every glass, you have 50 percent water and 50 percent treated urine, which again is not being treated so well. We will have so many troubles — excluding cholera and typhoid — an increase in liver cancer! Imagine what 11 chemicals will do to your stomach?” - John Kachembere

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