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Covid-19: Pressure mounts on Harare to provide clean water

Harare’s water supplies remain erratic despite the city council’s claims that volumes at its main purification plant have increased to help fight the outbreak of coronavirus, residents have said.

BY STAFF REPORTER

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) said council’s claims that the Morton Jaffrey Water Works has stepped up water purification had not translated into improved supplies for residents who still go for several days without running water.

A senior council official was recently quoted saying: “Harare water has increased its water production from 173 mega litres to 240 megalitres per day since April 20 2020, and most of the suburbs are accessing water.”

But on Wednesday CHRA said it conducted a survey in Budiriro, Hatcliffe, Highlands, Mabvuku, Tafara and Greendale suburbs that revealed that the water supply situation remained dire.

“The water situation has forced residents to continue queuing at community boreholes, exposing them to the risk of the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).

“Even the council water bowsers are overwhelmed due to the high demand.

“CHRA, has been imploring Harare City Council to provide tap water to decongest water points in communities as these areas have potential risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus.

“Social distancing at water points remains theoretical as residents stampede for the precious liquid.”

The residents association said the coronavirus outbreak had made it more urgent for the local authority to find long term solutions to the water crisis.

“While CHRA appreciates the efforts being made by City of Harare to address the water shortages by providing water bowsers to communities and repairing some boreholes, the need to come up with long term interventions remains critical,” CHRA added.

“Residents need tap water on their door steps to make the lockdown a success and to fight against the spread and contracting the notorious Covid-19.

“CHRA appeals to the central government to invest in the establishment of the water infrastructure through building of dams and fixing the water distribution network, which is key in providing a long term solution to the water challenges in Harare.”

Harare has the highest number of the coronavirus 32 cases recorded in Zimbabwe so far with 13. Bulawayo has 10 cases.

Good hygiene is one of the measures recommended by the World Health Organisation to halt the spread of the flu-like disease that was first identified in China late last year.

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