Availability of water critical during lockdown-Community Water Alliance Trust

By Lynette Manzini

Community Water Alliance Trust has welcomed the urgent high court application filed by the Combined Harare Resident Trust (CHRA) over failure by the government to provide water since the COVID19 outbreak and during the twenty one day lockdown.

One of the basic protective measures against COVID19 as prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is to wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap under running water.

Unfortunately, numerous neighborhoods in the capital do not have regular supply of water with some going for more than a year without the precious liquid.

The High Court application was filed 48 hours after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the 21 day locked down were he highlighted that, ” government and local authorities will step up efforts to ensure regular and a reliable water supply to all residential areas”.

Community Water Alliance Progams Manager, Hardlife Mudzingwa told Radio VOP that his organisation filed a similar case in September 2019 arguing that failure for the government to supply safe, clean and potable water constituted a breach of residents rights provided in section 77 of the constitution.”Firstly we applaud advocacy action by CHRA in asserting the human right to water, ” he said.

Mudzingwa said the statement made by the President Mnangagwa pertaining government and local authorities stepping efforts to ensure water supply will not change anything because, ” it was not supported by a budget. ”
Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Environment Management Committee of the City of Harare councillor Kudzai Kadzombe insists government needs to prioritise the water chemicals allocated to Harare City Council in order to improve water supply during the pandemic.

“Currently we are providing 173 mega litres when the entire requirement in Harare is 1200 mega litres and you actually see that there is big water deficit.”

“The reason why there is such a huge deficit is because the water chemical levels are very low and the solution for the water levels to actually increase to a stage were our residents will get one or two days of water supply, is if we have consistent and adequate water chemical supply,” she said

Councillor Kadzombe added that council has made a resolution to avail 5 water dowsers per ward as a mitigative measure towards water supply and boreholes will be drilled in areas without pipe water infrastructure.

Harare has been facing water quantity and quality problems which have been attributed to rapid population growth, obsolete infrastructure, inadequate water treatment chemicals among other issues.