Water Will be More Expensive Than Petrol,Coca-Cola in Harare by 2016



Zimbabwean Minister of Local Government, Ignatius Chombo has said that Water will be more expensive than the price of petrol or Coca-Cola in 2016 in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital if the water system is not improved.

Chombo stated this at an equipment handover ceremony in Harare.

He however said that government was considering making safe drinking water its priority in all the communities.

"It is the most important priority. If we don't improve Harare's water system in the next two to three years, water will be more expensive than petrol or Coca-Cola,” Chombo said.

He said Zimbabwe needed at least 1 billion U.S. dollars to completely overhaul the dilapidated water treatment and delivery systems of Harare to allow its more than 1.5 million residents to have reliable clean tap water.

Sources say Harare City Council currently produces 500 mega litres of water per day, which is only one-third of the daily demand of 1,400 mega litres due to low utilisation of treatment facilities and leaking underground pipes.

In 2012, a Chinese engineering firm, China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), was awarded with the 144 million U.S. dollars contract to rehabilitate Morton Jaffray Water Works, Harare's only water treatment plant for the past.

The rehabilitation is expected to raise Harare's water accessing rate from 40 per cent to near 80 per cent.

Chombo, however, said the Zimbabwean government was not happy with the progress of work and called on the firm to expedite action on it.

"Of course, we are quite anxious that the project should be completed as soon as possible because the residents of Harare very much need clean water in sufficient quantities," the minister added.

He said for the thorough overhaul, it might need over 1 billion dollars investment and the government preferred to award the contract to Chinese firms on concession loan base with maturity period ranging between 20 to 30 years.

Chombo said, "we need new source of water, new water treatment plants in order to meet the needs of new urban settlers that is increasing.

"It would be better if this whole project is done by one company. But I am quite confident that during our trip to China at the end of the month, we might be able to meet with Chinese companies which could be interested in this project.

Sources say the Harare City Council has been managing the huge water deficit over the years through water rationing.

Water contamination was behind Harare's deadliest public health crisis in modern history.

In 2008, more than 4,000 people died after drinking un-sanitised water in a cholera outbreak.

As taps ran dry in most homes, residents of Harare started digging boreholes to fetch the underground water for consumption.

Cao Yang, CMEC's project manager has promised that the project would be completed at the end of 2015.

"We will try our best. The majority of core equipment will arrive at Harare in mid-2015, and the project shall be completed by the end of 2015 ahead of schedule," he said.

Meanwhile, UNICEF Country Representative in Zimbabwe, Reza Hossaini has noted the water challenges in Harare but hailed government efforts to improve the water supply situation.

Hossaini said although boreholes could alleviate the water challenges, it was not a long-term solution.

"On the long run, you will have no choice but to have city water with its centralised water treating facilities,” Hossaini said

#UNICEF #Harare #Coca-cola