Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) yesterday Sunday took the government of Zimbabwe to court over failure to provide adequate water in the face of COVID 19 and the subsequent “lock down.”
The case pointed at the City of Harare, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Local Government and Ministry of Health as the respondents to the case.
The 1st respondent (Harare City Council) as the service provider for water and general sanitation for the citizens of Harare and its greater regions, was being railed for failing to ensure an adequate and constant supply of clean and safe water for the residents of Harare and its greater regions.
“As a result of this most of the residents of the city of Harare have had to either purchase water or drill boreholes to avert the crisis. The situation has not been similar in the high density areas where the supply of water has usually been once a month and they had to resort to getting assistance from UNICEF and other donors.
Following the Presidents orders for a lockdown that was followed up by Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 the CHRA stated that the respondents did not specify the steps they would take to ensure that the residents had adequate water.
“This directive was followed up but the 1st to the 4th Respondents have however not specified the steps that they will take to ensure that during the lockdown there is adequate and constant supply of clean and safe water to the residents of Harare in compliance with the requirements of section 77(a) of the Constitution which protects the right to safe clean and adequate water.
CHRA highlighted that 1st Respondent has always complained that 4th Respondent(Ministry of Finance) has not availed enough financial resources for it to procure the chemicals to treat the water sources; and the 4th Respondent has not specified what steps he will take to avail the necessary financial resources to procure the required chemicals.
“The 2nd to 4th Respondents have also not specified the steps that they will take to ensure that the 1st Respondent complies with the directive to provide safe and adequate water on a constant basis to its citizens in order to observe the highest standards of hygiene as directed.”
While the fight against COVID-19 demands constant use of water for better hygiene, water production has sunk low in the City. City of Harare is producing 170 mega litres per day against a demand of 1200 mega litres seriously compromising household use of water.