Binga residents are up in arms against council who they accuse of failing to remit their payment to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) leading to water disconnection. Some of the residents pay their water bills to Binga Rural District Council (BRDC) who in turn pay the water authority.
However, council has not been remitting the payments leading to the accumulation of a debt reportedly running into millions. As a result, some residents in the high density suburbs have had their water supply disconnected.
According to the vice chairperson of Binga Residents Association, Samson Sibanda residents have gone for three weeks without water owing to council's debt to ZINWA.
"Yes, I can confirm that there is a residential area popularly known as Soldiers section whose houses are owned by members of the military which have gone for three weeks without water. The problem is people from these stands pay their bills through council and it turns out that it has not been remitting to ZINWA resulting in water disconnections in the said area," said Sibanda.
He said some of the 150 affected households have resorted to fetching water from the crocodile infested Zambezi river.
"The houses belong to soldiers who are renting them out since they don't stay there. So 150 households which are affected now risk their lives by walking 5km to the river which has crocodiles."
Sibanda said efforts to engage both authorities had yielded any results.
"We have tried as residents to engage ZINWA and council to resolve this issue but without success. Both authorities seem to be playing a hide and seek game with residents as none is taking responsibility. So we have approached the DDC to assist in organising a stakeholders meeting with concerned parties to find a solution."
The town has been experiencing a recurring water crisis emanating from frequent power cuts which affect water distribution as there is no standby generator.
Residents argue that the unavailability of water is not only exposing them to waterborne diseases but Covid-19 as people are not able to adhere to regulations that include washing of hands.
BRDC chief executive officer, Joshua Muzamba could neither confirm nor deny the development referring comments to the District Development Coordinator (DDC) who refused to shed details.
"I know of the issue but cannot comment much on the matter. Yes it's true there is a water challenge in Binga that's all I can say for now. I cannot give more details," said Binga acting DDC, Farai Murinyame.
Meanwhile residents in Dete, Hwange district are also facing a serious water crisis after going for close to two weeks without the precious liquid.
According to the ward councillor Stanley Torima the challenge of water has been caused by power cuts and breakdown of water pumps.
"The situation of water is bad and as long as it remains like this it poses a health risk. We have been having this problem for a long time now. We have a problem at the water loop, sometimes because of rains, power cuts become frequent resulting in loss of pressure to supply. So you will find that most of the time we have no power which affects pumping," he said.
Some residents said they were walking long distances to nearby lodges and NRZ offices to access water.
"We are in serious trouble there has not been any alternative from any of the authorities so we are forced to seek other means from companies that have boreholes. The closest borehole belonging to Dete Ceramics gets overwhelmed as the whole neighbourhood comes there," said Martha Ndlovu.
ZINWA Corporate Communications Officer, Tsungirirai Shoriwa was not reachable when sought for a comment.
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)