HomeEditorial CommentSpeed up normalisation of water supplies

Speed up normalisation of water supplies

With the widespread use of ground-water through boreholes by industrial, private and community residential establishments, there is need for city fathers, who oversee essential services delivery, to speed up the normalisation of the supply.

Sunday View by Tonderai Matonho

People also need regular updates on the progress on the strategic repairs and installations by the Chinese so as to ease rising demand for the precious liquid.

The rising demand for clean water is one of the most critical challenges in the country today, with the demand for water rising at around 5% annually, according to latest reports from water research experts. Increasing populations and urbanisation, leading to greater personal and household use, have reduced the quantity and quality of water available per person in recent years. Millions of dollars were availed by the Chinese government specifically for this project and a progress report is now required.

This time around there is need to see honest service delivery and integrated management strategies being put in place. Embezzlement of state funds at the expense of service delivery and the greater majority  who are in immediate need of water should be stopped forthwith and the culprits arrested. There is no time for complacency anymore given the recent cases of corruption across major sectors of the economy.

The supply and provision of water is of critical importance given its strategic value and the abundant rainfall received this season. Unfortunately, management of water resources in the country has been fragmented among different government departments, some of which have had competing interests.

Government departments must begin to harmonise water management strategies, first at the local, regional and then at national level. There is need to develop effective national water master plans that would drive water policies and regulations of the country. It is also of critical importance for all development stakeholders to co-operate with city and rural councils, particularly departments of works and health which manage municipal and council facilities and have responsibility for water and environment.

In a finite, ecologically-interconnected and resource-abundant world, the laws of demand and supply just need to be respected. They cannot be set by the whims and conveniences of kleptocracy and greed, but by market forces. People and communities simply need water. It is their right. Provision and supply of clean water is a greater part of social development and without social development, a critical mass of people remain in poverty, while a privileged few reap benefits of rising abundance.

Today it has become almost impossible to deny the existence of severe water scarcity and irritating rationing. It was common to see water to go to waste at every stage of its management with burst pipes, massive sewage leaks and flows, non cost-effective pricing regimes; high consumption levels and fragmented management systems, particularly in urban areas.

According to water experts, studies show that the amount of water available annually to each person in southern Africa has been declining since 1950.

The belief that good rains mean abundant resources has led to complacency in the management of the ever-dwindling resource in the country. Massive water projects to augment dwindling supplies such as the Pungwe Water Project in Manicaland and the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project are yet to materialise despite long years of planning.

Their future is still uncertain, yet the Zambezi River Project was first proposed in 1912. Experts assert that planning for the future means seriously learning from the past and evaluating the present to determine both the positive and the negative aspects of managing the country’s water resources.

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