Zimbabwe capital Harare temporarily resumed pumping water at its main water works on Tuesday, an official said, bringing some relief to residents.
Most of Harare’s water and sewer infrastructure is in a state of disrepair leaving the city unable to supply most of its more than two million residents.
Harare City Council acting mayor Enock Mupamawonde told reporters authorities shut the Morton Jaffray water works citing shortages of foreign currency to import treatment chemicals.
On Tuesday he said chemicals had been secured that would last a week.
The southern African nation is gripped by its worst economic crisis in a decade with inflation soaring and citizens enduring shortages of foreign exchange and fuel as well as electricity cuts lasting up to 18 hours a day.
Mupamawonde said the city bought chemicals from local suppliers and pumping of water would resume. Residents would start receiving water on Tuesday just before midnight, he said.
“We are taking this as a buffer period to work around what happens next,” he said at a media briefing, adding some chemical supplies were stuck at the border with South Africa, awaiting payment and clearance.
The closure of the treatment plant raised the prospect of an outbreak of waterborne diseases like cholera, a year after Zimbabwe suffered its worst cholera outbreak in a decade, which killed at least 26 people mainly in Harare.
Mupamawonde said Harare would continue to face water shortages unless new dams on the cards for more than two decades are built.
The city would drill more public boreholes and truck potable water to residents as short term solutions, he said.