Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), in a press statement on the World Water Day, bemoaned the poor water service delivery in the Zimbabwean suburbs.
The World Water Day is an annual event celebrated on the 22nd of March and this year’s water dedicated day went with the theme “Leaving No-one Behind.
“Water scarcity continues to affect most citizens in the country especially the under privileged,” ZELA says. “The 2018 cholera outbreak that recorded a case fatality ratio of 0.57% confirms that several people are living without access to safe and portable water.”
“This negatively impacts on food security and livelihood choices especially for the marginalised members of society.”
The public law organisation says it is also concerned of water pollution being exacerbated by minign activities in different resource-rich areas in Zimbabwe.
“Some of the mining companies operating in Zimbabwe are discharging effluent and these are outrightly disregarding the environmental and water rights that are provided for in the supreme law of the land,” ZELA says.
“The effects of such bad environmental law practices are far reaching and in most cases result in the outbreak of diseases such as cholera and other water borne diseases.”
Mines have been accused of releasing effluent, some of which contain harmful chemicals such as mercury into water bodies such as rivers.
ZELA also urges the government and state agencies to uphold and respect the right to water as enshrined in Zimbabwe’s constitution.
The right to clean and potable water is provided for under Section 77(a) of Zimbabwe’s Constitution.
“We further implore the state, local authorities and other relevant stakeholders to refrain from violating the right to water through poor service delivery, the law organisation says. “The state must put in place mechanisms that will promote the realisation of this right.”
“Proper water and sanitation is a key foundation not only in the realisation of the basic human right but also in achieving Sustainable Development Goal number six.”
Statistics show that three in 10 people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and six in 10 people lack access to safely managed sanitation facilities.
“Moreover, ZELA is concerned with constructions being carried out on wetlands which have affected Harare’s water supply,” ZELA says. “Wetlands, which include bogs and swamps are essential and can ease the impacts of the changing climate by helping maintain ground water levels, and protect areas from the worst impacts of floods by absorbing excess water.”