Council fails to meet Morton Jaffray refurbishment deadline
Harare City Council has failed to meet the deadline for the refurbishment of the Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant, the Firle, Clear Water Pumping – station and Crowborough Waste Water Treatment plant, Acting Finance Committee chairperson Councillor Luckson Mukunguma has revealed.
Harare residents are facing severe water problems resulting in many residents resorting to borehole water for drinking as the little rationed tap water is regarded as unsafe to drink. The refurbishment of the treatment plants and pump-stations was a three year project which started in 2013 and was supposed to have ended in June 2016.
Mukunguma attributed the failure to late disbursement of the remainder of the US$144million controversial loan that was acquired from the Chinese Exim-Bank. “There has been a glitch in the disbursement of the remaining US$72.2milllion by the Export and Import (Exim) Bank of China, but I can advise that Ministry of Finance has taken up the matter with the Exim-bank of China and we fervently hope that further disbursement will come our way in not so distant future,” Mukunguma highlighted.
Mukunguma further claimed that the refurbishment of Morton Jaffray Water Works was 90% complete and council would shift its attention to pipe replacement programmes in order to mitigate losses emanating from leakages.
Upon completion of the rehabilitation of Morton Jaffray, water supply is expected to rise from 400 to 650 against a requirement of 800 mega-litres per day. City of Harare currently requires US$3million per month to buy chemicals for water treatment; however 60% of the treated water is being lost through pipe burst due to the ageing piping system.
In the 2016 budget of City of Harare, council allocated US$63million for the augmentation of portable water higher than the proposed US$50.9million cited in the 2017 budget. Mukunguma said the proposed allocation of $US50.9million would see the completion of Morton Jaffray, Firle, Crowborough Wastewater Treatment Plant and other projects in 2017.
Harare’s proposed revenue budget is standing at US$345.7million, slightly higher compared to the current budget of US$343.9million with the huge chunk of its funding being raised from Harare Water which has a total of US$133.7million.
Meanwhile Harare residents say there is nothing yet to show for the US$144 million dollars as water shortages continue to characterize the capital city. “The water supply situation in Harare remains critical and as residents we have always complained that the US$144 million loan is being abused by those in power and will not help solve city’s water crisis,” posted Harare Residents Trust leader Precious Shumba on social media platforms.