Simbarashe Tsumele is a holder of a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Irrigation Engineering from Chinhoyi University of Technology in Zimbabwe. He worked as an Irrigation and water Supply engineer at Waterflo engineering from November 2015 up to 12 February 2018; currently he is studying for a Master of Science in Water Resources engineering management at the University of Zimbabwe and an irrigation consultant at green resources company.
By Simbarashe Tsumele
Water for use by people is allocated to Urban, rural and catchment councils by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, at low Prices of around six dollars per Mega Litre. These councils then treat the water and then supply it to the communities through use of household taps and community standpipes. In rural communities, Water for Domestic use from streams is not charged.
Mostly urban councils are poorly addressing the Issue of Water and Sanitation Hygiene in the country. The reason for this is due to lack of funding for maintenance of infrastructure that enables proper treatment and supply of water to the urban citizens.
Also treatment of effluent discharge is pure such that most of the effluent get to streams and end up in dams where water for human consumption is taken. There is the lake Chivero in the capital of the country.
In addition, the supply of water by urban councils is not regular. Water supply cannot be predictable as well, as some areas in the country do not receive municipal supply of water at their taps for several days whilst other suburbs do not receive water at all.
Some suburbs are emerging with the stands not being properly serviced, such that there is no water supply at all even in form of stand pipes and people end up digging shallow wells in order to get water.
These wells are not monitored in terms of hygiene even though they are covered; most of them are not on safe depth in relation to toilets used in those areas.
The situation leaves people from poor communities at a disadvantage, as they do not have resources to provide themselves with clean water.
Zimbabweans who could not get access to treated water from the government, due to one reason or the other are gladly getting treated water to drink as a result of the emergence of water bottling companies, which treat water and then sell.
In the Rural areas of Zimbabwe Water is fetched from Streams and traditional wells, which at some instances directly polluted by both Children and domestic animals.
In addition to the above, some Agricultural activities that are done in rural areas, lack Proper management in terms of water usage calculations on crop and farmland, which usually leads to leaching of fertilizers.
This end up contaminating the ground water resources, which are at the end the “source of water” used by the people living in those areas and at the downstream areas in the catchments.
However, some Non-Governmental Organizations Such as UNICEF, Oxfam and Action FAIM are taking action in helping the water and hygiene sanitation programs in Zimbabwe. The above mentioned NGOs engage in drilling community boreholes and equipping them with common lift manual pumps (bush pumps) and Elephant pumps.
These boreholes are protected from direct pollution by animals and people; thereby help to cover up for water shortages from taps in urban areas. UNICEF also face -lifted and contributed in the installation of water supply infrastructure to rural Schools and clinics in some Rural Communities in the country.
Further, in some urban communities, chemicals such as Water guard are being provided such that people can further treat their water before consumption, these chemicals are distributed free at local suburb clinics.
In conclusion, the polices and steps to improve the water and sanitation hygiene in Zimbabwe are well structured by ZINWA, but due to the financial resources of the government of Zimbabwe, as it stands, facilitating and implementing those policies have been a great set back and concern.
Towards this end, it has been difficult to improve the infrastructure that will enables Zimbabweans at large have access to portable water, good hygiene and sanitation.