7 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Acute Water Crisis Raises Fears of Disease Outbreaks

HARARE continues to struggle in providing basic amenities and sanitation, including clean water, to residents. In a survey yesterday, The Herald discovered most suburbs have had no running water for years while others have resorted to council boreholes or unsafe water sources.

Council on Wednesday attributed the water shortages to a major pipe burst at the Prince Edward Water Works.

Suburbs in the eastern parts of Harare have, however, gone for more than 10 years without tap water.

Residents in these areas have resorted to sinking boreholes.

In western suburbs, intermittent water cuts have increased with residents receiving water during the night.

Mbare residents have had no water in the past six days amid fears of disease outbreaks.

Suburbs that include Mabvuku, Tafara, Rhodesville, Highlands, Chisipite, Greencroft, Mandara, Borrowdale, Greendale and some parts of Msasa have gone for years without tap water.

Ruwa, which also gets supplies from Harare, has had water problems for years.

Residents in western suburbs of Budiriro, Mufakose, Kuwadzana and others receive water during the night.

The situation is the same in Westgate and adjacent suburbs.

"We have gone for more than a decade without running water. I don't know how they want us to survive in an area where there is no water.

"We have resorted to digging wells and fetching water from nearby boreholes," a Mabvuku resident said.

Mr Arnold Chitova of Greencroft complained of the time they get water .

"We are not happy at all because sometimes we have to wait the entire night to get water and sometimes you get as little as four litres and the water is cut off.

"What surprises us is that we are paying our bills on time but we are not receiving what we are paying for everyday".

A resident from Westgate (Red Roofs) said they last received water in December last year.

"We get water from our neighbours' boreholes and nearby wells. We last had tap water in December last year," he said.

Residents of Mbare, Glen Norah, Glen View, Norton and Epworth have resorted to borehole water.

The boreholes were sunk during the cholera epidemic in 2009.

In Mbare, some residents are using unprotected water sources.

"We have lost confidence with the tap water as the water is dirty. It shows dirty particles even if it is boiled.

"We are only using tap water for washing plates and clothes but it is not safe for drinking," said Tapiwa Chimusoro from Glen Norah A.

There are however, fears of imminent disease outbreaks in areas such as Mbare where the hostels have gone for weeks without water.

Council has been accused of neglecting its duties of providing clean water to residents while 60 percent of treated water is lost though leakages.

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