Harare in U-turn on water disconnections

HARARE - The Harare City Council (HCC) has made a U-turn on water disconnections, advising that it will resume the exercise.

Last week, the local authority announced that it was halting water disconnections to ensure residents receive the little that is available due to rationing of the commodity.

However, HCC spokesperson, Michael Chideme, said council resumed water disconnections yesterday starting in the capital’s northern suburbs.

Chideme said the disconnections are as a result of 20 suburbs owing council more than $331 million out of the $530 million currently indebted to the city by residents.

“If for any reason homeowners fail to give access to our officers, the water will be disconnected from outside with the attendant costs being met by the property owner,” he warned, adding that “all residents must at least pay the current bill in full and make payment arrangements for the debt owing”.

Suburbs to be affected include Mount Pleasant, Strathaven, Avondale, Avonlea, Mabelreign, Borrowdale West, Central Business District, Arcadia, Amby and Beverly Msasa, Alexander Park, Bluffhill, Budiriro, Crowborough, Dzivarasekwa, Mufakose, Kuwadzana, Kambuzuma and Warren Park.

The new wave of water disconnections comes as HCC’s epidemiologist, Kudzai Masunda, as well as Health minister David Parirenyatwa, have warned of a possible diarrhoeal diseases outbreak, due to the deepening water crisis and the looming rains.

According to Masunda, council has beefed up its medicines and medicinal products stock for all diarrhoeal illnesses.

He said all water must be treated with suspicion and as such, advised residents to purify it regardless of the source.

“Our water situation in Harare is dire as a result of the drought and also upgrading of water treatment and reticulation facilities,” Masunda said.

“Due to the damages that have happened in the water reticulation system, some particles may end up in the water and to be safe all water should be treated including underground water,” he said.

Parirenyatwa has warned people against consuming water from shallow wells as they will get contaminated during the rainy season.

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