By Ambuya Bown
ZINWA advertises that “Water is Life” but for the past 10 years, they have become increasingly incapable of providing us with it until now we are getting
water cuts lasting six days.
Everyone knows that the Morton Jaffray plant was put in many years ago by the “white” regime. I have lived here for 61 years. So far as the general populace is informed, it worked pretty well, even for the past 26 years without any apparent replacement, and limited repairs or maintenance, serving an ever increasing urban sprawl, the planning of which gave no thought to future water supplies, until the whole system has finally given up the ghost and crumbled into rust.
The second law of thermo-dynamics applies — all matter disintegrates and descends into chaos unless there is an injection of intelligent thought and energy. In this case no injection of any kind of thought or energy whatsoever has been forthcoming. The results are proof of this.
What is going on at Zinwa and the Ministry of Water Resources? This is not a new problem. It has been getting increasingly worse for years. Zinwa and the ministry know it, and we, the citizens know it. But the past five years have been particularly appalling. Several times a week there is a problem with the pumps at Morton Jaffray. We get told they are repairing them — these pumps are obsolete and finished. It’s no good repairing them. They need replacing, not repairing. In the meantime the general populace in the affected areas goes without water for days on end. Disease, discomfort and increasingly high bills are the only thing we get out of this.
Efforts to speak to those in charge at Zinwa elicit a mumbled slurry of words which mean absolutely nothing. When asked why the pumps are not being replaced, we get told the old fable that there is no currency available. But in the daily national newspaper we read of frequent governmental purchases requiring currency — vehicles, fighter jets, airliners, printing new currency, and attempts to buy curtains for $36 billion — happily a thwarted effort. But the vital Ministry of Water apparently never gets any grant of currency. What’s the problem? Do we have too many seat-warmers in this department? It is time to stop warming seats and to get up and achieve.
Why is it that government places so little importance on supplying water to the capital city? There is plenty of water in Lake Chivero, so drought cannot be blamed, yet again, for this disaster. There just isn’t enough water coming through Morton Jaffray because the pumps are broken beyond repair.
The solution is very simple — divert all possible currency to the replacement of the pumps, the pipes, the plant and if necessary the personnel, involved with the supply of water. You never know, this way we may even get an adequate wheat crop next year if they can fix the water supply in time. But who knows, we may not need so much wheat next year if the population has been drastically reduced by disease and dehydration.
* Bown writes from Harare.