Increase in water supply leading to pipe bursts – City of Harare
By Edward Mukaro
AN increase in water supply coverage has led to the increase in the number of reported pipe bursts, up from 894 in July to 961 in August, the City of Harare has said.
According to minutes from the Council’s Environmental Management Committee of 4 October 2021, the city has managed to increase water supply through tweaking its systems and strict adherence to the weekly demand management system of water coverage; however, the increase in water coverage was increasingly leading to pipe bursts.
“The Department attended to 920 bursts in August compared to the 830 done in July.
“The received bursts figures in Mabvuku, Tafara, Borrowdale and Mt Pleasant bear testimony to the increased water supply coverage because these were previously dry suburbs,” read the minutes.
Zone 1 was the most affected by pipe water bursts compared to other zones, with Avondale, Belvedere, Southerton, Mbare, Alexander Park, Graniteside, Eastlea and the CBD being problematic areas of the zone.
Council said COVID- 19 regulations have however stalled progress on repairments, but however, highlighted plans to replace burst pipes to reduce losses.
“The efforts to reduce outstanding bursts had been constantly negatively affected by the covid-19 regulations of decongesting workplaces to 50% compounded by lockdown measures which had minimized production hours. This resulted in outstanding bursts increasing from 224 to 266 at the end of August 2021.
“Serious pipe replacement projects would now be considered to reduce physical losses and maintenance costs that were running high every month.”
Furthermore, the local authority highlighted that more work was required on the billing and revenue collection side, which would potentially result in the increased number of disconnections and non-supply to both illegally connected and those with huge bills due to non-payments.
Meanwhile, the commissioning of the first 3 Alex pumps is in progress.
The City of Harare has for long periods been at loggerheads with residents for failure to adequately supply clean tapped water.
The failure by local authorities to provide ‘safe and clean’ water has over the years caused outbreaks of communicable diseases.
According to a report by the Zimbabwe Peace Project (2019) entitled, The Prevalence of Violations of the Right to Water, over 70% of the population in the capital depend on unsafe and unclean sources of water.