• A pilot city project is set to guide the achievement of universal water supply and sanitation access in Marondera city of Zimbabwe by 2025.

    The Urban Water Management (IUWM) Masterplan, supported by EUR 2 million ($2.2M) grant from the African Water Facility (AWF) is aimed at ensuring sustainable management of water and sanitation services for the region’s population. AWF, an initiative of the African Development Bank is designed to support African countries in water management, water security, access to potable water and sanitation in rural areas.

    With the biting effects of climate change and rapid urbanization in most African cities, the need for sustainable water supply and sanitation is surging day in, day out.

    “The implementation of the IUWM approach couldn’t be timelier in light of climate change effects and rapid urbanization that most African cities are experiencing,” said Mohamed El Azizi, AWF Director. He added: “IUWM is particularly relevant within the context of dwindling water resources, as the approach contributes to improved water security through the adoption of a holistic approach. It involves designing water management as a system within a catchment, generally taking into account the entire water cycle, and, in particular, considering wastewater and fecal sludge as resources.”

    Marondera, the seventh-largest community in Zimbabwe, with a population of 65,000 inhabitants, still struggles with revamping its water supply and sanitation since the start of the country’s economic recovery program in 2009. With inadequate external support, Marondera is yet to sustain its population. The IUWM Masterplan that will be developed for the region proposes to improve water supply, wastewater, and solid waste management services in Marondera using an integrated approach that could be implemented as a pilot case for Zimbabwe in general.

    It is expected that the approach will be potentially rolled out in other municipalities in the future. The project will also address some of the city’s immediate water and sanitation infrastructure needs, as well as enhance the capacity of government and key stakeholders to implement and sustainably manage water and sanitation facilities.

    Once the developed Marondera IUWM Masterplan is implemented, there would be increased access to improved water supply and sanitation services. As a result, this will lead to reduction in diarrhea morbidity among under-five children from 7.2 % to less than 5% by 2025. It is projected that access to drinking water will also rise from the current 77 percent and 63 percent rates to 100% by 2025.

    Although 97% of properties are directly connected to the municipal water supply network in Marondera, many households do not benefit from a 24 hours’ water supply service due to power cuts and the water distribution system’s poor performance. The sanitation situation is worse as most of the collected sewage is not treated despite 91% of the properties in the town having access to a toilet attributed to the collapsed sewer network.

    The project is estimated to be complete at 30 months and projected to cost EUR 2.3 million ($2.5M) of which the AWF will contribute EUR 2 million ($2.2M). The Global Water Partnership (GWP) and the Government of Zimbabwe will respectively finance 7% and 8% of the total project cost.

    Image Credit: Africa Design Magazine