The water situation in Harare, Zimbabwe: A policy and management problem

Article (PDF Available)inWater Policy 11(2) · January 2009with 4,730 Reads 
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DOI: 10.2166/wp.2009.018
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Abstract
Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, is facing water quantity and quality problems, with serious pollution of the downstream Lake Chivero. Often, these problems are attributed to rapid population growth, inadequate maintenance of wastewater treatment plants, expensive technologies and a poor institutional framework. Rampant urban agriculture could also result in washing off and leaching of nutrients. This paper brings out a number of issues related to sustainable water management in Harare. The study was based on key informant interviews, focus group discussions and a literature review. The results show that monitoring and enforcement of regulations in Harare is poor because of economic hardships and lack of political will to deal with offenders. Also, there is irregular collection of garbage, low fines owing to hyper-inflation and a general failure by the city to collect water and other charges from residents. The city has also failed to raise tariffs to economic levels owing to heavy lobbying by residents and interference by government. It was concluded that Harare cannot overcome its water-related problems under the current set-up. It is recommended that a corporatised body, free from political influence and with a higher degree of autonomy, be established to run the water services for Harare and the neighbouring towns. Such a body would need a sound and flexible system for setting tariffs and enacting/enforcing reasonable regulations.
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  • ... The rapid population growth in Harare has seen the local authority failing to provide adequate water services to its residents. Nhapi (2009) notes that there are two basic challenges relating to water management in Harare. These are the long-term water scarcity problem and the immediate water quality problems in Lake Chivero. ...
    ... The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) is particularly worried about the utilisation of financial resources given to the CHD by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) towards preparedness; eradication and mitigation of water-borne diseases. From a public health perspective, the sewer system is old and is continously bursting, exposing residents to diseases such as cholera and typhoid ((UN-Habitat, 2005;Nhapi, 2009;Olu et al., 2011;Makwara & Magudu, 2013). ...
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  • ... As established by (Nhapi, 2006), the paper finds out that the lack of community participation by local groups was a result of the heavily polarized political environment as well as the reliance on a top down approach by the local authority instead of the bottom up approach. For effective public sanitation policy implementation there is therefore need for CoH to embrace the group approach as it promotes sound; service outcomes, client outcomes and policy implementation outcomes. ...
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    This article analyses the role of groups in policy implementation in Harare. There is a generally accepted assumption that the influence of groups in policy implementation would, if well nurtured on the benefits of groups in policy implementation , enhance behaviour change education. This article uses both purposive and cluster sampling to select twenty public toilets, targeting informal groups with structures at each of the selected sites. The Group Network Theoretical approach was used to determine the influence of groups on policy implementation. Authoritative data on the role of teams and groups was collected through key infor-mant interviews of council officials and representatives of groups located at each public toilet site. The article reports a study wherein information was collected though focus group discussions and participant observations of public toilets and their surroundings to determine the role of groups. Data on the role of teams was also obtained through the distribution of 395 questionnaires to the informal group members. The study finds that there were few partners in public sanitation policy implementation with City of Harare (CoH) being the major sole service provider. Major actors that actively participated in public toilet construction and rehabilitation included Vost and Uniliver with government agencies and informal group members playing a peripheral role. The article also finds that social groups such as touts, vendors and street children resorted, at times, to antisocial behaviour by engaging in acts of vandalism, public urination and use of alleys as places of convenience. The article recommends that HCC embraces the hybrid model which advocates for increased partnership with the private sector and informal groups. For sustainable public sanitation policy implementation, there is a need for the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) to embrace the multi-actor approach which entails inclusivity, integration, harmony and collaboration among major actors.
  • ... The residents' toil in the study area resonates well with the results of other studies in Zimbabwean cities which argue that water scarcity leads a reduction in water consumption and the generality of township dwellers tend to moonlight to get the precious liquid (Dandadzi et al., 2019;Mashizha & Dzvimbo;Nhapi, 2009;Muzah, 2015). Based on residents of Chikangwe, Chiedza and Westview water taps dry up as early as 4 in the morning, forcing residents to find alternative, but unsafe water bodies, such as shallow dug out wells and streams. ...
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  • ... Harare is characterised by irregular removal, collection, transportation and disposal of waste and street cleaning, poorly managed waste dumpsites and heaps of illegally dumped solid waste (Tsiko and Togarepi, 2012). This threatens the water situation in Harare and has been cited as the major cause of the outbreaks of Cholera and Typhoid (Nhapi, 2009). Solid waste problems in Harare specifically are evidently manifesting in the form of both 2 nd International Engineering Conference (IEC 2017) Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria surface and groundwater pollution due to the dumping of solid waste in waterways and untreated leachate from dumpsites as well as raw or partially treated sewage discharge into the City's source of its potable water, Lake Chivero, which is reported to have reached eutrophic levels (Magadza, 2003;Rommens et al., 2003;Nhapi, 2004;. ...
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    Harare is experiencing enormous solid waste management challenges manifesting themselves in the form of both groundwater and surface water pollution leading to outbreak of water born diseases. The solid waste management infrastrucre in Harare was designed to cater for almost a third of the population it is currently serving. Heaps of illegally dumped solid waste has become daily eyesore. Numerous waste management studies carried in Harare highlighted the nature of the challenges being faced and recommended the need to have a waste management paradigm shift in the City. This study argues for the need to undertake simulation and laboratory based studies to develop and design waste management options for Combined Heat and Power Generation for the City. This paper argues that Harare could possibly use the energy generated from its waste on its water and wastewater treatment and other potential uses. Options for decentralized waste management systems unlike the current centralized system must also be incorporated in the simulation models and laboratory scale experiments where, waste sorting and separation might occur at source or a certain waste management boundary where, only that which is not fit for reuse and recycle will be transported to landfills.
  • ... Some residential areas are experiencing dry tapes for weeks or even months. Nhapi (2009) argued that these challenges are largely attributed to increased population, lack of necessary maintenance works on wastewater infrastructure, use of technologies that are expensive and institutional framework deficiencies. Residents have resorted to the drilling of boreholes and shallow groundwater wells at their households. ...
  • ... However material recycling must be expanded to other material constituents like glass, metals and others as it is currently limited to plastics and corrugated paper as noted by Makarichi et al (2019). The indiscriminate dumping of MSW in undesignated areas has negatively impacted the water situation in Harare leading to the annual and seasonal outbreaks of Typhoid and Cholera (Nhapi, 2009). MSW management problems in Harare are thus manifesting themselves through the pollution of both surface and groundwater emanating from the indiscriminate dumping of MSW in waterways and dumpsites leachate infiltration into groundwater. ...
  • ... Therefor over 50% of the MSW generated remains uncollected and dumped indiscriminately in undesignated areas with 28%, 11%, 6% and 3% reportedly buried, burnt, illegally dumped and separated respectively (EMA, 2016). This has been pointed as a source of water pollution and cause of perennial outbreaks of Cholera and Typhoid (Nhapi, 2009). Uncollected MSW loads surface runoff with nutrients contributing to the eutrophication of the potable water source for Harare, Lake Chivero (Magadza, 2003). ...
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