NGUNDU centre, a transport junction, business centre and settlement 90km south of Masvingo, has run dry amid fears of waterborne disease outbreak.
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) last supplied water to the centre almost a month ago, according to residents who spoke to NewsDay.
The estimated 5 000 people at the centre, a fast-growing settlement due to its strategic position as a link to the sugar-producing Lowveld towns of Triangle, Chiredzi and Beitbridge Border Post, are buying water from private supplies at R2 for 20 litres and R20 for a of 210-litre drum.
Residents, including civil servants, traders, travellers and miners from surrounding mines, are staring at the possibility of a cholera outbreak despite being 10 kilometres from Tugwi-Mukosi.
Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga professed ignorance about the issue when contacted for comment.
In an interview, Masvingo provincial medical director Amadeus Shamhu encouraged the responsible authorities to urgently restore water supplies.
“Lack of clean and running water at such settlements is one of the drivers of cholera and we expect supplies to be restored. I will engage responsible authorities to correct the situation,” he said.
Masvingo has recorded 183 confirmed cholera cases this year.
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Several Ngundu residents expressed their displeasure over the lack of water at the centre.
“We have not had water here for almost a month. It makes our trade difficult as we are in the food industry where running water is key,” said Livison Makuzha (23), who works in a butchery and food outlet.
A baker Shepherd Jani said water shortages were making life difficult for them as businesspeople.
“Production expenses rise when you have to buy bottled water. We hope they can fix the situation,” he said.
“Is it not strange we are the very people closest to the country’s biggest inland dam and we are thirsty? This is a sign of poor administration by those tasked to supply us with water. We might fail to get other things, but not water at our doorsteps,” a man running a restaurant at Ngundu said.