Harare City Council has said it requires $650 million for the rehabilitation of the city’s water distribution network.
In an interview with the Daily News, director of water and acting town clerk Hosea Chisango said the network was in bad shape as most of the pipes were over 60-years-old.
This comes as Korean firms and Zimbabwe Diaspora community have expressed interest in investing in the city’s water supply and distribution infrastructure.
“We need to do a lot on the distribution network so that we cut down on the losses. People have resorted to using boreholes because in some areas the water was not getting to the residents. The estimate we have for possible investment into the distribution network is $650 million but staggered over five years. We have close to 6 000km of pipe network laid at different periods.
“Obviously, we want to start at the oldest and most critical parts. We also need to upgrade the network because we are factoring in the increased population of Harare. The trunk mains need to be upgraded using new materials that are coming out,” Chisango said.
He said the current water supply demand of 820 Megalitres (Ml) does not include industry. However, if the city factors in industry, the demand for water shoots up to nearly 1 200 Ml of water required per day.
The need to replace the old pipes comes as Harare is failing to provide adequate clean and safe water to its residents due to recurring burst pipes.
According to Chisango, the city’s water distribution network is extremely old, with some of the pipework now prone to breaking down due to movements as they are mostly made of rigid asbestos material.
Prevalence of burst pipes increases during the rainy season when soils expand and also just after the rains when the ground dries and begins to contract.
The aged distribution network status contributes to about 60 percent of non-revenue water the city is currently losing.
Once completed, the refurbishment and pipe replacement would reduce physical water losses by 72 million litres per day, increase supply coverage to 72 000 households, reduce non-revenue water by 25 percent and increase revenue by about $21,6 million per year.