With the rain season now in full swing, Gweru residents have raised alarm over the threats of drinking contaminated water caused by dumping of wastes some believed to be toxic, near some of the boreholes.
Speaking in Gweru yesterday (Tuesday 3rd December) during a Women's Coalition in Zimbabwe (WCoZ) engagement meeting with Gweru City Council Officials over water provision, Tatenda Machingauta a young WCoZ member expressed concerned over waste that is being dumped near public boreholes.
"Our concern now is, as you (Gweru City Water Quality Technician Zamekanda Mamboza) said before that some of the waste sinks into the grounds and can find its way into boreholes and other water bodies, will we not find ourselves drinking contaminated water as some of the open spaces near boreholes around our residential areas like Mambo and Ascot suburbs have become dumping sites and we see pampers and used pads there. When it rains, that dirt will it not find its way into the boreholes?" Machingauta asked.
In response, Gweru City Engineer Robson Manatsa warned residents that borehole water is not always safe.
"Borehole water quality is not reliable especially during rainy seasons when the water table underground rises and gives high risk of contamination. Borehole water can only be certified to be safe after doing proper tests and we encourage our residents to always treat borehole water either by boiling or tablets, no matter how safe they may think it is," Eng. Manatsa said.
Gweru City's Environmental Health Officer Mrs Nothando Moyo who encouraged all women in attendance to always take precautions when using water, especially borehole water.
She said water from other uncertified sources should always be boiled and stored in narrow mouthed containers, treated using tablets, always wash their buckets before storing treated council water and generally encouraged personal hygiene among women and residents in general.
Gweru City continues to face acute water shortages despite the recent installation of four new raw water pumps to draw water from Amapongokwe Dam.
Last year Gweru was hit by a Typhoid outbreak with some investigations made by health expects in the city pointing to borehole contamination as a source of the disease.
The meeting, as WCoZ Midlands Chapter Coordinator Vimbai Nhutsve says, was to seek clarity and help them understand the challenges council is facing and seek clarity as to why water was still a problem despite government intervention in the procurement of raw water pumps which have since been installed that they were made to believe was the main problem.