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An AWF project to ensure the sustainable management of water and sanitation in Zimbabwe

21 February 2022

Hope has been brought to communities living in Marondera Municipality in Zimbabwe, on account of the possibility of lasting access to safe water and improved sewerage services at home.  As a result of the recently completed Africa Water Facility (AWF) financed Masterplan and the immediate works undertaken to provide short solutions to improve the deteriorating water supply and sanitation service provision situation. The Masterplan provides detailed feasibility studies as well as short to long term climate proof plans for the resolution and improvement of the integrated urban water and sanitation system covering a 25-years horizon.

Based on the immediate needs initiative, young people, men, women and their children no longer struggle to secure water related goods and services such as safe drinking water.  As a consequence, they have improved health and can spend their time engaging in business, learning, and creating a bright future. Some nearly 40,000 people are witnessing a social transformation that the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) with support from the AWF brings to the municipality of Marondera.

" Before, life was not good. We used to go and fetch water in open shallow wells that we even do not know the quality of water we drink. Now we are getting enough clean water. Our hygiene has now improved. We are now able to flush our toilets” said Makamba, a resident of Marondera. "The Integrated Urban Water Management- Master Plan for Marondera Municipality-Zimbabwe" project, initiated in 2013 to ensure the sustainable management of water and sanitation for Marondera’s population. “The water management is one of the most serious concerns in Marondera. Potable water from pure sources is rare, other alternative sources of water must be treated at high cost, and the volume of wastewater is growing. Those living in Marondera town lack good-quality water and often fall ill due to waterborne diseases”, said Osward Chanda, Director of the Water Development and Sanitation Department of the African Development Bank said.

The Acting Town Clerk of Marondera Municipality, Nyamuziwa, added that water and sanitation are at the very core of sustainable development. " The Master Plan is key in that it assists in determining the long-term future water and sanitation requirements of the town”. The immediate needs component of the project was a game changer. It rehabilitated critically damaged water and wastewater infrastructure, bringing back the dysfunctional system to life. With Government co-funding, Braithwaite steel tanks were rehabilitated to improve the capacity of water storage and supply from 8 mega liters per day in 2019 to the current 12.5 mega liters per day. AWF funding contributed to the rehabilitated a total of 1.3 km main sewer pipeline for Dombotombo and Chitepo suburbs as well as the rehabilitation of the Cherutombo Pump station together with the five wastewater treatment ponds.

This has improved both the quality and quantity of water supplied to the residents of Marondera. Consumers are now benefiting from more hours of supply of quality water. Over 5,200 people have improved access to clean water and over 35,000 have improved sewerage services.  According to Munjoma, business community Representative of Marondera well known as "Progressive Residence and Ratepayers Association": “The water quality has significantly improved. As business community, we are assured of getting water after 2 to 3 days according to municipal distribution schedule. It is a good move" He added that some used to spend time searching for water from community boreholes thereby having delays in opening business premises. " But with this infrastructure, we find that we can fill up our storage tanks the day water comes so that for the days we are not getting it we will be ok. So, to conclude we are happy though we need water 24/7.”

Cecil Nundwe, Principal Water Resources Management Officer at the African Water Facility said that the channeling of wastewater through the sewer lines has reduced environmental pollution and improved the quality of water. He added that the rehabilitated water treatment facility is producing good quality water for consumers, though it will require regular monitoring based on institutional arrangements proposed under the master planning component of the project.

“The sewer used to flow passing through our roads and entrances, but we are now assured that we are living in a good health environment safe from pollution”, said Maisiri, a Marondera resident.

The project also improved sanitation and hygiene knowledge and practices through public awareness campaigns. It is expected that this will be a recurrent activity into the future. The cost of the project amounted to €2 340 450 euros on a co-financing arrangement between the AWF, the Global Water Partnership and the GoZ. The project is expected to end in March2022 and the GoZ is proceeding with the mobilization of funds for the implementation of the short term measures identified under the Master Plan.