‘City do­ing its best to keep ty­phoid at bay’

Harare has been bat­tling ty­phoid since last month and res­i­dents re­main un­der threat of con­tract­ing the wa­ter-borne dis­ease which has al­ready claimed two lives while 25 cases have been con­firmed. Poor wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, waste man­age­ment and per­sonal hyg

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Q&A/Opinion -

IR: En­gi­neer, you have been at the helm of Harare Wa­ter for the past four months. As you are aware wa­ter is one of the ma­jor driv­ers of ty­phoid, which is cur­rently af­fect­ing the cap­i­tal es­pe­cially the high-den­sity sub­urb of Mbare, what ac­tions are you tak­ing to en­sure there is wa­ter sup­ply in these ar­eas? HC: Fol­low­ing re­ports of the

ty­phoid out­breaks, the Harare Wa­ter Depart­ment, has in­ten­si­fied its sur­veil­lance and op­er­a­tions in and around the flash points. Wa­ter and sew­er­age man­age­ment teams are de­ployed in all ar­eas to im­prove re­sponse time. Nor­mal sewer block­ages are now be­ing at­tended to within 12 hours of re­port. The city con­tin­ues to urge res­i­dents to avoid dump­ing ma­te­rial in sew­ers as these in­crease block­ages. Res­i­dents should not van­dalise the sew­er­age in­fra­struc­ture as this leads to high vol­umes of wa­ter which then leads to in­creased sewer over­flows. Crit­i­cal in­ter­ven­tions also in­clude chlo­ri­na­tion of bore­holes. All pub­lic bore­holes are be­ing chlo­ri­nated reg­u­larly to elim­i­nate any pos­si­ble con­tam­i­na­tion. Wa­ter sup­plies to the high­den­sity ar­eas which are prone to dis­ease out­breaks have been in­creased. Harare Wa­ter has also in­creased the chlo­rine dosage lev­els to counter any pos­si­ble re­con­tam­i­na­tion of wa­ter at the point of use. Bore­holes are be­ing fit­ted with on­line chlo­ri­na­tors to en­sure that all the wa­ter ob­tained has resid­ual chlo­rine. We have also de­ployed re­ac­tion teams in the af­fected ar­eas to en­sure that all sewer block­ages are quickly at­tended to, and that chem­i­cals are ap­plied at af­fected places to elim­i­nate odours and flies. Harare Wa­ter val­ues the re­ports that we get from res­i­dents so that ser­vice in­ter­rup­tions are ur­gently re­solved. IR: It seems the city is re­act­ing to a cri­sis rather than be­ing proac­tive. What other in­ter­ven­tions have you been car­ry­ing out to avoid the out­break of wa­ter­borne dis­eases and to en­sure the cap­i­tal has suf­fi­cient wa­ter sup­plies? HC: We have been work­ing hard. In Septem­ber we in­tro­duced a tight wa­ter ra­tioning pro­gramme to en­sure all ar­eas would ac­cess wa­ter. The pro­gramme, how­ever, had pri­or­ity on the high-den­sity ar­eas which were re­ceiv­ing min­i­mum five days wa­ter sup­ply out of seven. We also de­ployed bowsers to some of the ar­eas, which were most af­fected such as Msasa Park, Hat­field, Mab­vuku, Ta­fara and Hat­cliffe. This was meant to en­sure that Harare res­i­dents would con­tinue to ac­cess clean wa­ter for ba­sic house­hold use. We also em­barked on an in­ten­sive leak­age re­duc­tion pro­gramme to re­duce wa­ter leak­ages so as to im­prove sup­plies. This was done to­gether with op­ti­mi­sa­tion of wa­ter pro­duc­tion at Mor­ton Jaffray Wa­ter Treat­ment Works where there was suf­fi­cient raw wa­ter for treat­ment. In­ten­sive re­duc­tion of leak­ages re­sulted in im­proved wa­ter sup­ply cov­er­age and by mid-Novem­ber, the north­ern and east­ern sub­urbs of Harare (Green­dale, Glen Lorne, Kam­banji, Man­dara, Chisip­ite, Bor­row­dale and Mt Pleas­ant) which were vir­tu­ally dry started ac­cess­ing wa­ter at min­i­mum three days a week. Be­sides the re­pair of burst pipes, pipe re­place­ment was also car­ried out through­out the city. From Oc­to­ber, about 5km of pipework has been re­placed and in some in­stances up­graded to in­crease ca­pac­ity. Ar­eas that have ben­e­fited are Avon­dale, Ru­gare, Souther­ton, Lochin­var and Mbare. Pipe re­place­ment re­sults in im­proved se­cu­rity of wa­ter sup­ply as the rate of pipe bursts re­duces. IR: We un­der­stand Harare has been fail­ing to pay for wa­ter chem­i­cals to en­sure that there will not be short­ages? HC: We have been en­gag­ing our prin­ci­pal sup­pli­ers of wa­ter treat­ment chem­i­cals to im­prove stock lev­els. This in­volved mak­ing sub­stan­tial pay­ments to sup­pli­ers. This in­ter­ven­tion has seen marked im­prove­ments for the crit­i­cal chem­i­cals where stocks have been im­proved from one day to a week of sup­plies. Ef­forts are still be­ing made to en­sure safe stock lev­els de­pend­ing on the load times of the de­liv­er­ies of the var­i­ous chem­i­cals. IR: Poor sew­er­age sys­tems and blocked sew­ers can also con­trib­ute to wa­ter-borne dis­eases, what is the city do­ing on this front? HC: We are work­ing on our sew­er­age in­fra­struc­ture and we have al­ready re­placed key sec­tions of the net­work where sewage was pol­lut­ing the en­vi­ron­ment. Work is in progress to up­grade and re­place sew­ers in Mu­fakose, Kam­buzuma, Dzi­varasekwa and Mbare. Com­pleted works in Kam­buzuma and Dzi­varasekwa have im­proved ser­vices in the re­spec­tive ar­eas. IR: The coun­try had poor rain­fall in the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons, what is the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion af­ter the heavy rains? HC: Last sea­son’s low rain­fall saw the raw wa­ter sources for Harare dwin­dling un­til the city had to nearly stop wa­ter pro­duc­tion from Prince Ed­ward Wa­ter­works which has a ca­pac­ity to pro­duce 60 mil­lion litres per day half of which sup­plies Chi­tung­wiza. This left Harare with Mor­ton Jaffray as the only treat­ment plant avail­able. Harare was dur­ing the same time car­ry­ing out the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion works at Mor­ton Jaffray wa­ter plant. Dur­ing the treat­ment works re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, some treat­ment and pump­ing units were de­com­mis­sioned to al­low in­stal­la­tion of new plant and equip­ment. This saw the ca­pac­ity of the plant re­duced to 400 mil­lion litres per day in­stead of the de­signed 600 mil­lion litres per day. The on­set of the rains has fur­ther im­proved wa­ter sup­ply cov­er­age and ac­cess as the dams that sup­ply Prince Ed­ward Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant. IR: Speak­ing of the Mor­ton Jaffray Treat­ment Works, what is go­ing on there. We un­der­stand the project was sup­posed to be com­pleted last year. HC: The city can re­port that the ma­jor works at Mor­ton Jaffray are sub­stan­tially com­plete and the plant is ex­pected to be fully op­er­a­tional dur­ing the first half of 2017. There were a few week­ends where the city had to shut down the plant to al­low con­trac­tors to in­stall new equip­ment and to en­able the city to deal with leak­ages on the main trans­mis­sion mains. These were ad­ver­tised and the pub­lic ad­vised. Dur­ing crit­i­cal shut­down pe­ri­ods, bowsers were de­ployed to crit­i­cal ar­eas such as clin­ics. With re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion works near­ing com­ple­tion at Mor­ton Jaffray, wa­ter sup­ply into the city is ex­pected to in­crease dur­ing the course of the year. IR: En­gi­neer, I un­der­stand Harare is also a ben­e­fi­ciary of the se­cond phase of the Zim­babwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion project? HC: Yes, we are, projects un­der Zim­fund have com­menced. This fa­cil­ity will cover re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the dis­tri­bu­tion pump sta­tions in Harare to en­able the city to pump con­sis­tently and ef­fi­ciently to all ar­eas around the city. The project will also see the re­place­ment of 50km of dis­tri­bu­tion pipework and this will re­sult in in­creased wa­ter sup­ply cov­er­age. The Zim­Fund project also in­clude the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the sew­er­age net­work and this will fur­ther re­duce sewer block­ages and sewage spillages. Sewage treat­ment works re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion will con­tinue un­der this fa­cil­ity with sewage ponds in Marl­bor­ough be­ing re­ha­bil­i­tated. The Marl­bor­ough area has been par­tic­u­larly af­fected es­pe­cially dur­ing the rains and work on the ponds sys­tem is sched­uled to start by the end of Jan­uary. All the projects be­ing car­ried out are meant to in­crease vol­ume of wa­ter get­ting to the peo­ple as well as se­cur­ing the qual­ity of the wa­ter. The key fo­cus is on pub­lic and en­vi­ron­men­tal health. IR: Thank you for your time Eng Chisango.

HC: My plea­sure.

EN­GI­NEER CHISANGO . . . “Harare Wa­ter val­ues the re­ports that we get from res­i­dents so that ser­vice in­ter­rup­tions are ur­gently re­solved”

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