A DUTCH firm, Vitens Evides International (VEI) that partnered City of Harare, has finally compiled a draft report and map aimed at reducing water losses in the city due to illegal connections and burst pipes.

VEI project manager, Toine Ramaker on Tuesday shared experiences on how water is preserved in other countries.

He said Harare was losing clean water due to burst pipes and illegal connections by the residents while more water was being billed but not reaching its intended beneficiaries.

“According to our findings in 2011, the city lost more than 59% of water due to burst pipes. 213 million cubic metres were loaded into the system but only 87 million cubic metres were billed, confirming the loss of water due to these challenges,” Ramaker said.

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He said by replacing water and sewage pipes council would reduce water losses.

“In 2013 to 2018, Harare lost more than 60-65% of water and the billing is also irrational as some of the people who are using much water are not being billed, thereby eroding trust in service delivery,” said Ramaker.

He added that there was need to upgrade Morton Jaffray Water Works for it to pump 614 megalitres per day against the current 450 megalitres per day.

Ramaker said Harare also needed about US$1,6 billion in the next decade to repair all damages and rehabilitate old sewage and water pipes, pumping stations, reservoirs and provide more water sources.

Speaking at the same workshop, consultant Percy Toriro said the problem of water had been exacerbated by the population boom in the capital as the infrastructure was built for fewer people in the 1950s.

“Our water infrastructure in Harare was last developed in the 1950s, Seke Dam and Lake Chivero and the other dams built after 1980 are Darwendale and Cleveland dams so we now need a significant investment in infrastructure such as dams and also the pipes that were laid during that time for sewage and water are now obsolete,” Toriro said.

“We have also other challenges of construction on wetlands and pollution. We see people washing cars on the streets and rubbish is thrown in the water drainage system. This will block the free flow of water. The public must realise that the serious problem we have is water and it must be preserved at all cost.”