WATER shortages and the Bulawayo City Council’s rationing programme are increasingly becoming a bitter pill for Cowdray Park residents who go for days without water.
Report by Blondie Ndebele
The situation is worse for residents of the “new stands” area of the sprawling suburb where households do not have running water as the local authority is yet to service the neighbourhood.
In a tour of the area yesterday, residents said they needed council to service their stands and put taps in every household and to end water rationing, which was causing chaos in the area.
“Water is really a problem this side,” Tapiwa Zhou, a resident, said.
“If you could, you would stop rationing water, it would be better because all these people depend on a community tap for their clean water.”
He said water supplies to the area were cut every Monday mornings and restored on Thursdays.
“To make matters worse, as soon as the water comes back, only strong men are able to get it because of the pressure and chaos that would be there,” Sakheleni Sithole added.
“You can actually spend the whole day in the queue and not get any water. People fight on a daily basis for water.”
Some of the residents said they avoided the chaos by waking up during the night and in the early hours of the morning to fetch water from the communal taps.
“For some of us who do not have the energy to fight, we think it is better to wake up around 1am, come here and get our water without fighting with anyone,” Rita Mangwana, another resident said. “The situation is really pathetic.”
Other residents said they fetched their bathing water from open wells they dug or from open water ponds left by sand poachers to avoid quarrelling at the taps.
“The council should at least provide us with more water taps in this area to ease congestion if they are failing to provide us with individual taps,” Mangwana said.
The area, with an estimated
10 000 housing stands, only has five taps to service the community.
Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo said the local authority would look into the matter of putting more taps in the area and will also send water bowsers there.
“Plans of servicing the stands have been communicated with the residents,” he said.
“Meanwhile, the council will assess the population and find out how many more taps are needed.”
Moyo said the water situation in Bulawayo was known and it was difficult to stop water rationing.
The city is expected to decommission two of its three supply dams in July, as the water situation continues to deteriorate.
Bulawayo has resorted to water rationing in an effort to conserve the little water in its supply dams.