Zimbabwe: Water Situation At National University Remains Dire

October 11, 2011 1:17 pm 0 comments
By SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Published: October 11, 2011

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Published by the government of Zimbabwe

10 October 2011







THE just-ended strike by Harare City Council workers has resulted in a serious drop in water levels at the reservoir at the University of Zimbabwe, an official said yesterday.

UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Levy Nyagura, said the water situation remained dire, adding a long-term solution was the recapitalisation of council to provide water to all its customers.

Although Harare City workers resumed work yesterday after downing tools on Friday, some areas remained in crisis.

“The water crisis continues to be a serious challenge and my first port of call every morning is the reservoir,” said Prof Nyagura.

“As of today the water level had gone down to three metres from the six metres when full and we are almost going to a crisis point in terms of providing halls of residence and lecturers’ accommodation.

“We knew of the sit-in at City of Harare last Friday and no water has been pumped since then.

“What this means is that as of this morning we where holding less than 50 percent of water.”

Prof Nyagura said the water levels in the reservoir with a carrying capacity of 2,5 million cubic metres were also likely to drop further yesterday.

The UZ entered into an agreement with council where the local authority pumps water into the institution’s reservoir at night and cut off other users in the surrounding suburbs.

The UZ was forced to close its halls of residence in 2007 due to acute water shortages and only opened them this year after renovations and the construction of the reservoir.

The hostels have a carrying capacity of 4 528 but currently have 1 964 students because the majority cannot afford US$400 per semester in accommodation fees.

“Not many students have taken the accommodation because of lack of money, while we may talk of opening up halls of residence, noone has talked about empowering the students,” he said.

Prof Nyagura said Government owed the institution US$7,2 million in tuition fees for students on the cadetship programme since September last year while only US$300 000 for operations had been released from the US$1,3 million allocated in this year’s budget.

“From the US$1,3 million for operations we have received less than US$300 000 and it’s a difficult situation because even that little that was promised has not come our way.

“For cadetship since 2010 to September this year we are owed US$7,2 million in tuition fees.

“That is money that is assumed to be available for me to run this institution and it compromises the whole process,” Prof Nyagura said.

He said it was difficult for UZ to purchase new books for the library and equipment for use in laboratories and workshops.

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