By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE Harare City Council has appealed to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), to release foreign to companies that import water treatment chemicals from South Africa and China.
In a statement the municipality said it is now left with two days’ stocks of chlorine gas needed for the treatment of water.
“Currently our water production is very depressed,” said the Harare City Council in a statement.
Harare requires US$3 million every month for the purchase of water purification chemicals.
“The City Council has enhanced engagement with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, over the timely release of foreign currency to companies that import water treatment chemicals from South Africa and China,” the statement read in part.
Water shortages have become the order of the day across the capital with fears of waterborne disease outbreaks. Authorities in the city said they are only able to treat a quarter of the city’s daily water requirements.
“We are managing only 100 million litres against a daily average of 450 million litres.
“Our available stocks of chlorine gas can only last for two days,” the statement said.
The RBZ according to the municipality has not fulfilled its promises to release an initial US$150 000 towards the importation of chlorine gas.
Harare says it uses a tonne of chlorine gas daily.
Chlorine is used as a disinfection to kill bacteria in the water. Other chemicals include, activated carbon for removing odours, alum sulphate, sodium silicate for removing solid particles, lime for pH regulation, sulphuric acid to reduce pH, HTH for removing algae and ammonia for chlorine retention in the reticulation system.
Stocks of the other chemicals are also at depressed levels according to council.
Since 2008, Harare has been battling intermittent outbreaks of cholera and typhoid that has killed thousands in the past decade alone.
Early this year, the municipality got assistance from Higherlife Foundation which donated US$10 million towards the fight against the spread of cholera.
A proposed deal between Harare and Higherlife, worth US$100 million for the refurbishment of Harare’s water treatment plants, reportedly fell through after the city could not offer corresponding value to the church organisation owned by telecommunications mogul Strive Masiyiwa.
Had the deal gone through the Council was expected to buy three mobile treatment plants, pumps for Morton Jeffrey Treatment Plant and the Prince Edward Plant.
Some of Harare’s residential areas have not received tap water for over five years now.