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Residents' Trust Expresses Concern Over Lack of Safe Drinking Water

Harare has over the years been facing serious water woes linked to poor management and lack of resources.

The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) has called on the Harare City Council to urgently address the water situation as some local people say it is unsafe for domestic purposes.

The council’s communications manager Michael Chideme is quoted by NewsDay saying the city’s water is safe for domestic use though residents are complaining about the colour of the water and its putrid smell.

Chideme told the newspaper that the water, which has a greenish color and fouling smell, is safe to drink and meets the world class standard

However, the Harare Residents’ Trust dismissed these claims as unfounded saying the council did not have any scientific basis to support their claim.

In a statement Tuesday, it said, “The fact that the citizens and different stakeholders have continued to express their reservations on the quality of Harare’s water means that there is a lot that the local authority has to do to restore the citizens’ confidence in the water they are being served.”

Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba said residents want the city council to stop taking people for granted.

“They should try and understand that what they are trying to achieve from a public relations perspective will backfire because more residents are now convinced more than ever that something is amiss. The City of Harare is trying to hide something,” said Shumba

He added that its members have voiced concern on the accessibility of water, the suspicious greenish color and putrid odor.

In his response to these concerns, Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said the city is working hard to deal with the residents’ concerns.

“Our aim, our real wish is that when we proclaim our water safe and good to drink, we should be proud that we are saying and we’re telling the people the truth,” said Manyenyeni.

The mayor said he is aware of concerns of Harare city dwellers after receiving calls, emails and message of pictures of water people are using.

“As part of the improved water delivery we have a duty and commitment to the improved quality of that water, because we don’t want to supply but without the quality. As we improve our supply and our volume, let’s make sure the quality is what meets the residents expectations,” said Manyenyeni.

The HRT is encouraging the Harare Water Department to engage the residents and explain difficult situations in order to regain the confidence of the consuming public.

They are also urging the city to address the billing system and ensure that each household that is receiving municipal water has a functional water meter.