Community Water Alliance notes with concern the manner in which City of Harare is implementing its water rationing scheme.
Whilst the dwindling water levels in dams particularly Lake Chivero has been the basis for rationing water in Harare, there are procedural issues and legal framework that City of Harare should comply with.
We understand that the varying climatic patterns have forced City of Harare to ration water but equally important is the issue of conformity with the law and climate change mitigation strategies to address the water crisis.
The water rationing schedule of the City of Harare has skipped Avondale, Strathaven other areas.
Section 187 of the Urban Councils Act allows Local Authorities to ration water during times of emergency. The procedure under which water rationing should be implemented is specified on Section 187(3) of the Urban Councils Act which obliges Local Authorities to go beyond publicizing the issue in a newspaper.
The law require that water rationing should be published in a Gazette. As Community Water Alliance we have not seen anything on water rationing published in a Gazette.
Beyond the Urban Councils Act, Section 86(2) of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe provides a framework for limitation of human rights. It stipulates that when limiting human rights there is need to consider nature of the right, purpose of limitation, relationship between limitation and purpose, nature and extent of limitation as well as whether there are no less restrictive measures that serve the same purpose.
Section 77 (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for the right to safe and clean potable water.
Section 46(1)(c) of the Constitution makes it mandatory that when interpreting human rights consideration should be given to International treaties, conventions and law to which Zimbabwe is a party.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). General Comment 15 of ICESCR entitles everyone to available, sufficient, affordable,safe and clean potable water.
The nature of the human right to water is such that it is directly linked to health and life of citizens. Addressing Non-revenue water helps provide less restrictive measures in limiting the human right to water in Harare.
Community Water Alliance therefore compels City of Harare to follow procedures, develop climate variability mitigation strategy and respect constitutional provisions.