The Government is mobilising US$13 million to improve the water situation in Harare in addition to the US$1,6 million that has already been disbursed to the local authority for the procurement of water treatment chemicals, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka has said.
Already, the Government has allocated $7 billion to the city of Bulawayo for repairs and purchasing of essential materials in the water supply chain while the completion of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, which is 85 percent complete, is a top priority.
The intervention by the Government is meant to boost the daily supply of water to residents in the capital city from the current 300 to 350 mega litres per day to 520 mega litres as part of efforts to fight the cholera outbreak that has been exacerbated by erratic supplies in the capital city.
Dr Masuka said this on Wednesday, at the recently introduced media briefing for Government ministers to address the nation on topical issues affecting the country.
Dr Masuka chairs a Cabinet Committee on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
“We intend to increase water supply so the Government has given US$1,6 million for chemicals as a stop-gap measure but we need an additional US$13 million for the upkeep of water works,” he said.
Masuka said the focus of the central Government for this year in terms of WASH was Harare and Bulawayo but with special emphasis on the capital.
“The President directed that we assist them (Harare City Council) by seconding a technical committee chaired by Professor (Hodson) Makurira from the University of Zimbabwe. We gave them a 100-day mandate, we have extended that mandate as we want them to increase daily water supplies to 520 mega litres a day. We are currently hovering around 300 to 350 mega litres and the Government has availed resources to kick-start this process,” he said.
Dr Masuka said the Government was also looking at additional sources of raw water for Harare Metropolitan Province including an aquifer that has been found in Seke.
“You recall that the President commissioned the Muchekeranwa Dam and the pipeline that leads to Wenimbe Dam just outside Marondera. We want to accelerate that project so that we can get water from Wenimbe to eventually flow into Harava Dam and then we will be able to maximise the utilisation of Prince Edward works at 75 to 78 mega litres a day to be able to supply the Chitungwiza Municipality, whose requirement is about 70 mega litres a day,” he said.
Dr Masuka said Kunzvi Dam currently under construction was also expected to come on board between 2026 and 2027, adding a further 200 mega litres of water to Harare.
The minister expressed concern at the amount of pollution at Lake Chivero which has resulted in the Harare City Council using up to 17 different chemicals to treat the water.
For Bulawayo, he said the city had been allocated $7 billion for repairs required at Mzingwane and for purchasing other essential materials while Government was this year also prioritising the completion of Gwayi-Shangaan Dam which is 85 percent complete, and also the pipeline to convey the water to the city.
Regarding the rural WASH sector, he said Government intends to drill 35 000 boreholes in 35 000 villages with over 2 600 having been sunk across the country so far.
“In the rural hinterland, the Presidential Rural Development Programme is anchored on water as a key enabler where 35 000 boreholes will be drilled at village level and 10 000 boreholes in schools. These will be solarised for climate-proofed agriculture and will facilitate the establishment of business units at schools and villages.
“To date a total 2 614 boreholes have been drilled, 721 equipped with bush pumps and 306 solarised as of January 17, 2024. For the financial year 2024, we budgeted for drilling 4 000 new boreholes and equipping 6 500 boreholes. The ministry has since requested $65 billion from Treasury to expedite drilling and equipping of the boreholes,” Dr Masuku said.
He added that the Government was also prioritising a borehole rehabilitation programme through the Rural Infrastructure Development Agency and spares worth US$1 190 337 were required.