HomeOpinion & AnalysisWater crisis, a health time bomb

Water crisis, a health time bomb

The cuts are a result of Harare City Council’s intensified water rationing exercise that is seriously affecting residents.


For the past two weeks, the city council has been intermittently cutting supplies resulting in some suburbs failing to get water for days.

The situation got worse on Friday and Saturday when the water shortages were felt right in the city centre.

Office workers in high-rise buildings found it tough to spend the two days without water in their toilets. The lack of water at both workplaces and homes is a health time bomb waiting to explode.

Water is central to a hygienic lifestyle, and without it residents find it difficult to maintain standards that keep diseases at bay.

The 2008 cholera epidemic, which claimed over 4 000 people, is a case in point which shows that lack of clean water is a recipe for disaster.

Just a few months ago cases of typhoid were experienced in high-density suburbs such as Kuwadzana and Mufakose.

The Harare City Council is advised to act fast to maintain consistent water supplies before the city slides back to the crisis of 2008. The city risks reversing commendable gains that were recorded in containing the deadly cholera four years ago.

Without adequate water supplies, residents will troop back to the unprotected shallow wells and drains, putting themselves at risk of contracting water-borne diseases. Who wants another cholera outbreak?

So far, the city appears to be trivialising the problem, judging by the response given by its spokesperson Leslie Gwindi who blamed last week’s water shortages  “to inspection on plans and pipes being carried out by engineers”.

Obviously Gwindi knows the problem is not that simple, considering that council lacks adequate water treatment chemicals and has to deal with a crippling load-shedding exercise by the Zesa, which reduces its water pumping capacity.

Clearly a strategic approach to the problem is needed to ensure uninterrupted water supplies before more lives are put in danger.

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