Marondera Municipality is working round the clock to address a water crisis that has reportedly resulted in an outbreak of diarrhoea in the town.
The town of 120 000 inhabitants has experienced serious water problems for the past three months resulting in residents fetching water from unprotected sources.
Mayor Farai Nyandoro blamed the crisis to “sabotage” by Zanu PF politicians whom he accused of vandalising pipes in a bid to discredit the MDC-T -controlled council.
Nyandoro also blamed the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) for the crisis saying the utility had failed to account for two water pumps which were at the Rufaro Dam, one of the major water sources for the town.
He said the two pumps mysteriously disappeared during the period Zinwa was in control of water.
Only one remained and it developed faults resulting in the water crisis.
“When we handed over water to Zinwa we had three pumps, but when we took over control of water only one pump remained and the whereabouts of the other pumps is not known.” Nyandoro said.
The mayor said the council had since bought a pump from South Africa which was installed last week.
Nyandoro said the council was now on a ”permanent water demand management” programme.
He said Marondera needed up to $14 million to embark on a project to draw water from Wenimbe Dam, 23km south of the town. The mayor said he was not aware of any diarrhoea outbreak in the town.
“I do not have an official report on the health problem. We have not heard of anything. When the whole country had cholera Marondera never recorded an incident,” Nyandoro said. The mayor said the town’s sewer system was also vandalised.
Sewage flow by gravitation, Nyandoro said.
But while the mayor claims not to know of any diarrhoea outbreak residents who spoke to NewsDay confirmed cases of the waterborne disease were rampant in the town.
“Just go into any house and you will see that almost every family has someone suffering from diarrhoea,” said Coleen Soroti, of Rujeko high-density suburb. “Diarrhoea is all over the town. We have gone for three months without water.”
John Chagaya of Rusike high- density suburb said: “We have gone three months without water so we were getting water from a well. A sewer pipe that is close to the well was leaking and spilling into the well, so a lot of people are suffering from diarrhoea as a result.”
Rusike said members of his family had contracted diarrhoea.
“I will not talk about other people but members of my own family are suffering from diarrhoea,” Chagaya said.
Memory Chaperuka, a vendor from Cherima, said: “Things are not well here. We are all suffering from diarrhoea. Everyone in this town has diarrhoea.”
Another resident, Ernest Kwakukai of Rusike, said the council should act fast to address the water crisis.
“People are suffering here,” Kwakukai said. “People are getting water from unsafe sources and it is very dangerous.” A medical doctor at Marondera General Hospital confirmed cases of diarrhoea were on the rise in the town.