ZIMBABWE’S prime tourist resort city Victoria Falls has been hit by a serious water crisis reportedly caused by pipe bursts.
Residents are now forced to buy water from suppliers who are cashing in on the crisis by charging an arm and leg for the precious liquid.
Residents this week circulated pictures of water bowsers which were reportedly selling water in some parts of Victoria Falls suburbs.
A resident, who spoke to Southern Eye yesterday said council had advised them that it was facing challenges in supplying water to residential areas.
“Yes, we need water, but the council is saying it does not have supplies and it is still fixing the pipes. But there are trucks selling water to residents at very high prices. The bulk water suppliers are saying they are getting the water from council,” a resident, who chose to remain anonymous, said.
Victoria Falls Combined Residents Association chairperson Kelvin Moyo said the water challenges were caused by pipe bursts.
“The water challenges are a result of two burst pipes which link the main river abstraction point and the water facility. This has affected other sections of the city and this has been the situation for some time now,” Moyo said.
“But as we are going into the dry season, we normally have this perennial water challenge, but this time around it started early which is very unfortunate.”
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He said council should swiftly resolve the water situation in the resort city to avoid disease outbreaks.
One of the worst affected areas is Mfelandawonye-Mkhosana.
“The council should be looking into how best it can rectify that because we would not want to deter the arrival of tourists to Victoria Falls.
“Tourists look for information before they travel in terms of all the records that they may need in terms of health issues and the water situation could negatively impact the resort city,” he said.
Council spokesperson Mandla Dingani requested Southern Eye to email questions on the water crisis, but had not responded at the time of going to print.
There are also reports that the local authority is using a small pump whose capacity cannot meet demand after efforts to install a bigger pump increased pipe bursts and leaks along the supply line because the piping is too old.
Victoria Falls Council took over rights to pump water from the Zambezi River from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, but inherited an old pumping system which needs replacement.
City engineer Sherinah Sibanda told journalists last week that efforts were underway to upgrade the water system through the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) programme that involves upgrading sewage services.
Victoria Falls is in the process of implementing a US$4 million Wash programme where two mega reservoirs are being constructed in Mkhosana to improve storage and distribution.
Town clerk Ronnie Dube urged residents to bear with council, while authorities are working on addressing the water situation.