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The Harare Water Distribution division is managed by the Distribution Manager, Engineer H. Chisango who is based at Old Mutual House. The water distribution division is one of the core divisions in Harare Water and is charged with the maintenance and operation of water transmission and distribution mains, distribution pump stations, storage reservoirs, service connections and water meters.

Key Result Areas of The Division

  • Responsible for policies, strategies and activity formulation for the Division and advises the Director of Harare Water and Sanitation on Departmental Strategies.
  • Responsible for the management of the water transmission, storage and distribution network, ensuring high behavioural and operative safety standards, optimization of manpower and equipment, ensuring timely completion of repairs, maintenance and replacement activities to minimize supply disruptions, adequate planning and budgeting for the activities.
  • Responsible for Non Revenue Water (NRW) management, distribution network zoning and flow management, system pressure optimization, leakage control, equitable water distribution, metering and regular water audit reports.
  • Responsible for all the water transmission, storage, distribution and customer supply network, ensuring optimal utilization and maintenance of all the assets through preventative maintenance programmes and administrative asset management frameworks that include asset registers and updating of drawings.
  • Responsible for Customer supply projects such as connections and metering, ensuring timely responses to customer reports, identifying and communicating to customers affected by supply breakdowns, availing adequate information on water supplies to the customers.

Water Distribution Infrastructure

The  Harare  water  supply  infrastructure  was  originally designed  to  supply  350,000 people. The infrastructure was upgraded progressively with the last phase commissioned in 1994 to supply 1,500,000 people. There has not been any  upgrading of the infrastructure since the last phase of Morton Jaffray.

On the other hand, the population (which includes Harare, Chitungwiza,  Epworth,  Ruwa  and  Norton  Town  Councils) which is the main driver of demand has been increasing and currently estimated at  4.5 million. The water supply infrastructure is now inadequate to supply the increasing demand. Some of the infrastructure in use is over 60 years, way beyond economic life.  The  economic  life  of  most  pumping  plant  is  15  years.  Beyond  this point, the operational efficiencies drop and breakdowns increase. The City is  therefore  having  to  deal  with  frequent  breakdowns  at  the  treatment works and this reduces the water output.

The distribution network is also aged with some of the pipework now over 60 years. Most of these pipes are the rigid asbestos cement pipes which break due to ground movements. The prevalence of burst pipes increases during the  rainy season  when soils expand  and also  just after the  rains when the ground dries and begins to contract. There are also a lot of steel pipes laid in the City’s network. These are affected by corrosion and with age, they increase in leakage rates and burst frequencies. The distribution network status is contributing to the  60% non revenue water the City is currently recording.

The 890 km2 area of Harare is traversed by about 5,500 km of transmission and distribution mains with pipe diameters ranging from 50 mm to 1,500 mm. Pipe materials are mainly asbestos cement (AC) and steel. uPvc pipes were introduced into the system in the late 1990s.The distribution network also has 15 booster pump stations and 28 storage reservoirs with total capacity of 850,000 m3. There are approximately 192,000 consumer connections. 

Modes of Water Supply

There are three water supply modes in Harare. The first is the pumping mode, where the areas are supplied off primary pumping mains. Some of the areas supplied in this mode are Highfield, Kuwadzana, Mbare and Sunningdale. Second, there is the gravity supply mode where areas are supplied from storage tanks by gravity. Some of the areas supplied by gravity are Budiriro, Glen Lorne, Glen View, Hatcliffe and Mabvuku. Storage reservoirs are located on high ground compared to the service areas to ensure full pressure supplies. The last category is supplied from both pumping and gravity. These are areas that can continue to access water after pumping failure such as the Central Business District (CBD). Various pressure zones were created in Harare but owing to system failures, most zone valves have been opened and this is exacerbating water losses.