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article imageZimbabwe capital city shuts main water plant, shortages loom

By Karen Graham     Sep 24, 2019 in World
Harare - Zimbabwe’s capital shut its main waterworks on Monday citing shortages of foreign currency to import treatment chemicals, potentially leaving the city and surrounding towns two million residents without water and raising the risk of disease.
Authorities in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital city, have been struggling to raise the $2.7 million a month for the chemicals needed to treat the city's water. To add to the city's problems, water levels in polluted dams are dropping because of drought.
“Everyone living in Harare is affected, they don’t have water,” city council spokesman Michael Chideme said as residents turned to options such as bottled water or wells. “Maybe the situation will be resolved by tomorrow but we are not sure,” he added, according to the UK's Independent.
Last year, Zimbabwe suffered its worst cholera outbreak in decades, leaving 26 people dead, mainly in Harare, due to burst sewers and inadequate water supplies. According to the Associated Press, the capital frequently records bouts of diseases like typhoid due to water shortages and the poor sewage infrastructure.
The city of Harare  capital of Zimbabwe
The city of Harare, capital of Zimbabwe
Andrew Balet
It is so bad that sometimes, people are forced to get water from unsafe wells and defecate in the streets. Last month, members of the Associated Press watched as residents pumped water from a well and then had to wait 30 minutes for enough water to seep back into the well.
Zimbabwe was once a bright spot in southern Africa and the region's breadbasket. However, with the country's economic collapse in recent years, coupled with a drought that has dried up a number of reservoirs and reduced water levels in many others, the country is struggling.
Zimbabwe is also gripped by a severe shortage of dollars that has weakened the value of its local currency, introduced in June, according to Reuters. The country's central bank has tightened currency trading rules - and city residents owed 1 billion Zimbabwe dollars in unpaid bills, constraining the council’s capacity to provide adequate services.
The Morton Jaffray treatment plant is producing less than half of its installed capacity, while a smaller treatment plant was closed last month after two smaller dams dried up.
More about Zimbabwe, water treatment plant, Drought, Chemicals, foreign currency
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