Harare needs US$800 million to deal with old sewer system

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By Leopold Munhende

HARARE City Council (HCC) needs up to US$800 million to give the city’s old water distribution and sewer reticulation system a new lease of life, Mayor Herbert Gomba has said.

Gomba was speaking on NewZim TV’s flagship discussion programme, The Agenda, Wednesday.

“If you are to deal with the water distribution system, you must also do works on the sewer reticulation system,” said the Mayor.

“So, if you look at the amount of money that is needed, it must address inadequacies both in terms of the water distribution and sewer reticulation.

“If you are doing some works at Morton Jeffery (Water Works), you must do some works at Crowborough.

“It entails dealing with approximately 15 000 km to 20 000 km piping system that was put underground.

“In totality, you are looking at roughly around US$700 to US$800 million to come up with these interventions.”

Over 65% of purified water is lost in distribution due to the capital’s broken-down system built in 1952.

Some 30% of the figure is due to dysfunctional water metres in most of Harare’s high-density suburbs.

Burst water pipes are easily visible in residential areas with some such as Chitungwiza, Epworth, Hopley, Mbare struggling to deal with widening streams of sewer that are causing a health hazard.

Added Gomba: “Access to resources, inter-governmental regulations, to a larger extent non-payment of council rates and bureaucracy are some of the challenges we are facing in service delivery.”

Gomba said council has been waiting for government to approve a Chinese investment project for the past two months.

To remedy the mounting challenges, the mayor proposed speeding up of amendments to the Urban Councils Act, Water Act, implementation of devolution and return of road levies to council from the Zimbabwe National Road Authority (ZINARA).