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Residents sleeping in water queues

by Staff reporter
22 Apr 2020 at 08:34hrs | Views
RESIDENTS in Bulawayo's Pumula South, Old Magwegwe and Emganwini high-density suburbs are reportedly sleeping in queues at boreholes and bowser delivery points as the water crisis in the city worsens.

The city recently implemented a 108hour water-rationing programme due to challenges in balancing its raw and clear water reservoirs at Criterion water treatment plant and dwindling levels at supply dams.

Christian-based civic organisation Habakkuk Trust and the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) revealed that some residents from high lying areas had gone for at least two weeks without tap water, forcing them to spend nights in queues.

The crisis comes at a time coronavirus cases in Bulawayo have gone up to 10 and 25 nationally with three deaths.

"The affected area, known as the Ngwalongwalo area, has seen some residents sleeping in water queues with their containers waiting to access the precious liquid. Despite promises by Bulawayo City Council to consistently deliver water to the residents using water bowsers, the water is inadequate and the delivery schedule has not been followed," Habakkuk Trust said in its latest report.

The trust also said the affected residents were not observing social distancing.

Others, who could not endure long nights in the open, were turning to unprotected water sources such as unreclaimed pits dug by the council along Ntemba Road.

"We are now resorting to fetching water for bathing and other household uses from pits along Ntemba Road (Emagodini) as the city council bowser came once this week," an affected resident said.

Some residents said they walked to Habek, about 5km away, to fetch water from community boreholes.

The local authority announced that parts of Emganwini, Magwegwe and Pumula South would experience serious water challenges that would run up to eight months.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association chairperson Ambrose Sibindi yesterday confirmed that parts of Pumula South, Old Magwegwe and Emganwini were in dire need of water.

"Yes, we are aware of the dire situation in suburbs such as parts of Pumula South, Old Magwegwe and Emganwini which even the council indicated that their situation may last up to the next rainy season without running water," he said.

"Those areas are being supplied by council water bowsers which is not even enough for them. This has even affected the council workers who deliver the water bowsers as they are no longer sleeping due to demand, it's just terrible."

Sibindi said council informed them that fixed water tanks were being erected in the areas to serve the residents.

He said the challenge faced by the council was that raw water belonged to the government and even if donors wanted to give council money to build dams, it was not possible because that is the responsibility of the State.

"It is sad that most donors no longer trust the government and would simply withhold their money and this has resulted in councils having water challenges," he said.

In his report last week, Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni indicated that the city's supply dams were at 31,73% with Umzingwane and Upper Ncema dams still decommissioned and Lower Ncema earmarked for decommissioning next month.

"The City of Bulawayo still awaits the declaration by the government of Bulawayo as a water shortage area so that we get the urgent support in water augmentation projects to increase water supply in the city. It is important that at this point in time, the residents of the city recognise the dire state that Bulawayo is in," he said.

Mguni said after the decommissioning of the Lower Ncema Dam in May this year, only 60-65 megalitres per day of raw water would be available for the city from three supply dams and Nyamandlovu aquifer.

"We continue to lobby the government to avail raw water sources for Bulawayo so that we ensure adequate water for the residents. We also urge residents to continue to save water," he said.

Mguni also appealed to well-wishers to donate boreholes and bowsers to assist in saving lives, particularly during the outbreak of COVID-19.

Source - newsday