Gweru runs dry

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA/BRENNA MATENDERE

An acute water crisis has hit the city of Gweru, with various suburbs going for 10 days without regular supplies, and residents now fear an outbreak of diarrhoeal diseases.

The most affected areas include the densely-populated suburbs of Mkoba, where a similar crisis last year led to cholera and typhoid outbreaks that claimed 10 lives.

The other affected areas are Daylesford, Mtapa, Mambo and Senga. The central business district and a section of Bata are also receiving erratic supplies.

Gweru Residents and Rate Payers’ Association (GRRA) chairperson Cornelia Selipiwe said the situation was now out of hand.

“The situation is bad and we are very worried. Without water, the city resembles a growth point. We now live like the rural folk, having to scrounge for water at boreholes. Our
residents are suffering,” he said.

GRRA leader warned that another round of waterborne disease outbreaks could be experienced in Gweru if no action was taken.

“The residents will be forced to use unprotected water sources and that will throw us into another health crisis. The city council needs to urgently attend to this problem before it
explodes,” he said.

Council spokesperson Manford Gambiza said the city was relying on two pumps to supply the city after seven other pumps had broken down.

Gambiza said pumping capacity for the whole city had been cut to about 20 megalitres from 60 megalitres, a situation that has seen mostly high-lying areas go without water.

“Gweru City would like to advise its valued residents that only two out of the nine clear water pumps at Gwenoro treatment plants are running following the breakdown of other pumps,”
Gambiza said in statement last Friday.

“The total volume of water pumped to the city has reduced to between 20 megalitres and 23 megalitres per day out of a possible 60 megalitres per day, and all high lying areas are
affected.”

He said council engineers were attending to the problem.

Gambiza urged residents who still had water running from their taps to use the precious liquid sparingly.

Recently, acting finance director Owen Masimba said the local authority needed US$6 million for new water pumps and other equipment to switch to Amapongokwe Dam for supplies in the
event Gwenoro is decommissioned.

He said council had availed resources to drill additional boreholes as a stop-gap measure for alleviating water challenges in the affected areas.

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