WATER WOES: Council, residents demands budget for Kunzvi Dam construction

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By Leopold Munhende

AFTER years of empty verbal promises to build alternative sources of water for Harare’s ever growing population, the city council and some of the capital’s residents associations are pushing for central government to include in next year’s budget funds for the construction of Kunzvi Dam.

Speaking at an extraordinary dialogue meeting in Harare, Acting Mayor Enock Mupamawonde said although the construction of Kunzvi Dam will not end challenges around access to clean and portable water bedeviling the city, it will go a long way in alleviating the problem.

“We are however happy that our engagements with the government have yielded positive direction to include Kunzvi Dam on its 2020 budget. We hope it will finally come to fruition.

“Most of the feasibility studies which are supposed to be done before such a massive project is done are said to have been completed,” said Mupamawonde.

“Constructing Kunzvi Dam alone will be far from enough because it will take us to 950 megalitres per day if Kunzvi Dam is constructed excluding Musami.”

Harare requires 1400 megalitres of water per day.

Government has since 2002 promised to start construction of the US$680 million Goromonzi project but constantly failed.

In 2005, then President Robert Mugabe’s government advertised for offers to partner it in the construction of the dam but this also failed to attract any.

In 2013 Chinese firm Avik International that had shown interest ran into disagreements with government and by 2017 promises that construction will start at the end of the year were not kept.

Earlier this year, government again offered the multi-million dollar project up to international bidders. None has as yet taken it up.

Government has maintained that it will not give Harare City Council the duty to seek for an investor.

Community Water Alliance (CWA) Programmes Manager Hardlife Mudzingwa said they will no longer listen to government promises but wait for its inclusion on the budget.

“The budget has to speak to the issues of water and sanitation. We are very clear on that matter and we know that government tends to promise a lot. So we will look at the budget.

“The statement of intent is the budget. The starting point is the budget, we want to see serious resource allocation to water and sanitation,” said Mudzingwa.

Harare also supplies water to Chitungwiza, Domboshava and Norton.

Some two million residents are surviving without the precious liquid in their taps and have resorted to unsafe boreholes and open source wells that sometimes have been decommissioned by council.