By Robert Tapfumaneyi
HARARE’S perennial water woes will only end if government commits to honouring a US$72 million loan balance to complete renovations at Morton Jeffrey Water Works.
In 2013, the authority contracted China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) to rehabilitate Harare water and sewage under a US$144 million loan facility from China Exim Bank.
The project sites are Morton Jeffrey Water Works, Warren Control pump station, Alex Park Pump station, Letombo, Crowborough and sewage plants located in different places.
Cao Yang, CMEC project executive director told NewZimbabwe.com at the Morton Jeffrey Water Works that they were waiting for government to pay up so that they could install the remaining equipment after which Harare water problems will be a thing of the past.
“Very few people know that we have only drawn US$72 million and work is over 90 percent done on Morton Jeffrey Water Works. So citizens must not blame the Chinese saying we are sitting on the job,” Yanga said.
“Some of the challenges being faced by Harare residents of not getting water has nothing to do with us contracted to rehabilitate the 60-year-old facility.
“We have done all we can but now what is hindering progress is that the government is dragging its feet to pay the balance of US$72 million for us to complete the works.
“We have spent all the money we received for the project on renovations of Morton Jeffrey the main work of the project as well as supply of water treatment chemicals, valves for distribution, water treatment lab equipment, construction and ICT equipment for the improved operations of Harare Municipality.”
The CMEC boss said without its critical renovations, there would no water supplied to city residents.
“As we have not received the rest of the money, we could not do renovation works at Warren Control and other water plants as per contract,” he said.
Morton Jeffrey Treatment plant was commissioned in 1954 to supply water to a small population then as compared to 1.5 million now currently living in the capital city.