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Residents take council to task over outdated pipes

by Staff reporter
16 Apr 2021 at 07:33hrs | Views
RESIDENTS in Gwanda have called on the municipality to urgently take action on the outdated asbestos cement (AC) pipes which have been bursting frequently causing serious water challenges in the mining town's western suburbs.

For the past fortnight, residents in high lying areas like Senondo 50, Spitzkop and Phakama and those in low lying areas among them Jahunda, Marriage and Geneva suburbs have had to go without running water on their taps.

Gwanda Municipality has tried to address the issue by repairing the burst pipes but the solution lasts for a day or less. On Monday the central business district (CBD) had no water for the better part of the day.

This is due to the AC pipes that have outlived their life span and are in need of urgent rehabilitation. Residents have urged the local authority to direct its devolution funds towards rehabilitating the city's water system.

"We have been having water cuts since Friday night last week where water has not been available on our taps for over four days. The water comes for a day or so and then vanishes without communication from the local authority.

"It is time the local authority starts to prioritise us and just like other councils use devolution funds to address such situations. We are fed up of this honestly," fumed Phakama resident Ms Siphethokuhle Ncube.

A Senondo resident Mr Nkosikhona Maseko said: "We're living in conditions of ancient rural areas because of unavailability of water from our taps.

"Faced with a pandemic where constant washing of hands with running water is encouraged, the local authority should play its part in providing."

In a statement, the Gwanda Residents Association through its secretary for youth Mr Wellington Nare said: "The Residents Association takes note of the current continuous water pipe bursts which are occurring almost daily.

"The situation has become a major threat to basic fundamental human rights especially the right to safe, clean and potable water enshrined under Section 77 of the country's constitution."

Mr Nare said the dual onwership of the water resource by Zinwa and the local authority is also a factor contributing to the prolonged water cuts.

"Gwanda Residents Association also notes that dual ownership of the precious local water resource as a major contributor to the delays in addressing the bursts and call upon Zinwa to fully hand over water treatment and distribution plant to the council in line with the National Water Policy.

"The rate of pipe bursts comes at a time when our local authority and Zinwa seem unprepared to deal with such challenges as shown by the period which they are taking to address the bursts which have seen some residents going for days without the precious liquid," he said.

"We call upon the council and Zinwa to come up with necessary preparedness measures to address pipe bursts.

"We also urge council to invest in arresting the situation by providing necessary resources and also investing in technical expertise that will ensure the frequency of bursts is reduced."

Gwanda Municipality Engineer Ndabezinhle Twala acknowledged that the pipes have outlived their life span but said financial constraints are stifling the rehabilitation process.

"We acknowledge that the pipes need to be rehabilitated from AC to PVC.

"The proposed theoretical plan to rehabilitate the reticulation line which has had lots of bursts lately is in place though financial challenges are crippling the execution of the plan."

Source - chroncile