Freak weather leaves Zimbabwe’s capital Harare lack of potable water

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Freak weather conditions which occurred Tuesday have forced Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, to shut down its water treatment plant after the major supply dam suffered a “lake turn” which resulted in the pumps taking in a lot of dirty water, Xinhua has learned.

Several parts of the country experienced heavy gusts of wind which resulted in cooler temperatures than of late, with the same conditions persisting Wednesday.

Town Clerk Engineer Hosea Chisango notified residents of the closure of Morton Jaffray Waterworks at Lake Chivero, about 30 km west of Harare, following the phenomenon.

“The City of Harare wishes to advise that due to the sudden weather change that happened last night, the water supply dam, Lake Chivero, experienced a ‘lake turn’ phenomenon. This happens when warm water at the bottom of the lake rises to the top of the water body where water for treatment is abstracted,” he said.

He said the phenomenon brought the dirty water at the bottom to the level where water is abstracted to the treatment plant, thus forcing the council to temporarily shut down the plant.

“The city has had to shut down the plant to allow for adjustment of abstraction levels to draw better quality raw water for treatment. The shutdown has resulted in water supply shortages for the whole city. Water supply is expected to be restored by 6 p.m. today,” he said.

Lake Chivero is heavily laden with effluent from the city’s industries, while raw sewage is at times flushed into the lake because of an old sewerage system.

Harare draws its water from four sources — Lake Chivero, Lake Manyame, Seke Dam and Harava Dam — which are all on the Manyame River.
Chinese firm Sinohydro is currently building another dam north of the city to supply Harare and its environs.

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