Chinese company Sinohydro has expressed interest in helping Harare City Council upgrade its sewerage system and clean up the heavily polluted main water source Lake Chivero, council minutes indicate.
According to The Herald newspaper, the state-owned company submitted an expression of interest to arrange financing and implementation of the project which is meant to make the city’s potable water cleaner while at the same time reducing treatment costs.
“We would like to register our interest to work with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and Harare City Council to implement Lake Chivero Water Environment Management and Treatment Project,” the company said.
“We hereby submit our unsolicited expression of interest to arrange financing and implementation of this proposed project,” the company told the council.
The council has now authorized acting town clerk Josephine Ncube to negotiate with the company which also seeks to start by investigating and analyzing pollution sources near the lake and developing a comprehensive treatment strategy.
The water quality at Lake Chivero has been deteriorating over the years because of heavy upstream domestic, agricultural and industrial pollution from Harare and the dormitory towns of Chitungwiza and Ruwa.
Lake Chivero in turn feeds into Lake Manyame which sometimes receives raw sewage from Norton.
As a result, the city has been pumping more money into treatment chemicals — as much as $3 million a month — instead of investing in infrastructure rehabilitation.
Close to 20 years of non-investment in the water sector have also resulted in infrastructure becoming inadequate to collect, treat and dispose of the waste water generated in the city, while in some cases the infrastructure has become obsolete.
Sino Hydro is also involved in the proposed construction of Kunzvi Dam to the north of Harare, which will boost supplies to the city which has been failing to provide enough supplies to its consumers.
Harare has a population of about 2.5 million and supplies water to a further 2 million in surrounding towns.
The Chinese company is also involved in power station rehabilitation in the country.