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Water crisis bedevils Gweru as dams spill

by Staff reporter
17 Mar 2021 at 06:27hrs | Views
GWERU City Council has come under fire from residents for failing to address the perennial challenges bedeviling the city, especially now when supply dams are all spilling.

For the past two years, the MDC-Alliance led council has been blaming water woes on dwindling water levels at Gwenhoro and Amapongobwe dams. However, following incessant, Gwenhoro and Amapongobwe are now spilling, yet residents go for weeks with dry taps.

More than 40 percent of treated water is lost through leakages because of aging water system.

As a result, residents are forced to queue at boreholes and or fetch water from unprotected wells for household chores.

Last week, the local authority announced to residents that it had lost two electric motors in the space of two weeks due to under voltage and power outage at Gwenhoro Water Works.

The development has resulted in the city council reverting to water rationing which residents had thought was now over following the spilling of the water supply dams.

Yesterday, Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana took to Twitter, castigating Gweru City for failing to supply potable water to its residents.

"Gweru is struggling to meet water demands for its residents although all supply dams such as Gwenhoro and Amapongobwe are at full capacity. Many councils are running out of excuses for their incompetence," wrote Mr Mangwana.

Gweru mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe blamed the acute water shortages on broken down electric motors.

"Two of our electric motors were burnt because of low voltage at Gwenhoro. They are under repair and we expect them to be installed by the end of this week. That's what happens when we rely on old infrastructure which was put in place around the 1960s," he said.

Cllr Makombe said the electric pumps and dresser pumps were all installed around 1960 and had exceeded their lifespan.

"The pumps we use as well as the treatment plant were installed around 1960. If you want, I can organise a trip to Gwenhoro so that you can appreciate our challenges so that you can write from an informed position," he said.

In separate interviews yesterday, residents castigated the city fathers for continuing to find excuses in service delivery even when the dams are spilling. Residents who spoke to Chronicle said council has been selling them a dummy for the last five years, blaming water levels in the dams.

"They have been exposed now we know very well that it's just incompetence on the part of our city fathers, we have continued to receive erratic water supplies but raw water is in abundance now thanks to the good rains," said Mrs Chiedza Cheza of Mambo suburb.

Mrs Cheza said the suburb has been without water for a week with residents now relying on unprotected water sources.

"They have been lying to us that the problem of water was due to low levels at Gwenhoro. Now that Gwenhoro is spilling they are now shifting the blame on water pumps," she said.

Another resident of Mkoba 19 suburb, Mr Francis Chidowe said the city fathers should just come clean and concede failure adding that long winding queues at boreholes are now the order of the day as residents look for water. He appealed to central Government to come in and address the water situation in the city.

"Government recently announced it would take over and rehabilitate the roads which are now in bad shape in all the cities, we pray they also take over even the water reticulation in cities like Gweru where for a long time, we have been relying on unprotected water sources with water becoming a scarce commodity," he said.

Council spokesperson Ms Vimbai Chingwaramusee reiterated that council was failing to pump enough water to meet the city's daily consumption.

"We are pumping 25Ml a day which is far less than the city's daily water consumption hence the rationing. We have to upgrade our pumping capacity to meet the daily consumption now that we have enough water in our supply dams," she said.

Source - chronicle

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