A HEALTH disaster looms in Umguza district after Mbundane residents, banned from fetching water from boreholes in Nketa 8, have resorted to sewer dams as Bulawayo’s water crisis gets worse.
BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
Mbundane is a new suburb under Umguza Rural District Council which lies adjacent to Nketa 8, which is under Bulawayo City Council.
The new suburb has no boreholes and is also not connected to Bulawayo City Council water reticulation system.
The country’s second largest is facing serious water problems following the decommissioning of three of its six supply dams due to low water levels.
The city has been forced to rely on boreholes as the main source of potable water.
A Mbundane resident, Anastasia Dube, said they had resorted to fetching water from Pekiwe sewage dam since they have no other option.
“We are chased away when we go to fetch water at Nketa 8 boreholes. It is now two months since the problem started. We are being asked to pay US$2 to access borehole water in Nketa,” she said.
“The situation is very bad. We are boiling the sewage water for domestic use. We have no other option.”
A Nketa 8 water committee member who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation said she was against the decision to ban Mbundane residents from accessing water.
“Mbundane residents are our neighbours and I tried hard to help them, but I was outnumbered by other members. I am now hated for siding with Mbundane residents,” she said.
“The problem started after the pump was stolen and the Mbundane residents have been accused of not lending a hand in the replacement of the pump.”
Another Nketa 8 resident who also preferred not to be named expressed disappointment over the chasing away of Mbundane residents from Nketa 8 boreholes.
“The situation is very bad. Remember Mbundane has no water supply, so they are relying on the nearby communities for water,” he said.
“These people are Zimbabweans regardless of the boundaries. They have the right to water,” he said.
“If you go to Mbundane now, they are fetching water from a river filled with sewage, but here in Nketa, we have plenty of boreholes which are underutilised during the day. This is a very bad practice among residents,” he said.
“Some of the Mbundane residents who are coming to collect water at 5am with wheelbarrows are being accused of making noise with their wheelbarrows.”
Bulawayo deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube urged residents to share the resources equally.
“It is indeed sad to note that Mbundane residents are being chased away from Nketa 8 boreholes, but it should, however, be noted that as Bulawayo City Council, we are only in charge of providing water to Bulawayo residents not for another local authority,” he said.
“I know it’s a hard comment to make, but as BCC, we are only liable to Bulawayo residents. It is tricky because Mbundane becomes a suburb in another local authority.”