BY STEPHEN CHADENGA/SILAS NKALA
A WOMEN’s rights group has petitioned Gweru City Council demanding an urgent solution to the water challenges bedevilling most parts of the city.
The petition by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ), dated March 15, indicated that the majority of women, particularly in high-density suburbs, were resorting to unprotected sources of water, exposing their families to waterborne diseases.
“We are disturbed by the fact that for weeks now, many areas, in particular Mkoba 16, 17 and Ridgemont, have gone without water and women have resorted to seeking water from unsafe sources such as unprotected wells,” read the petition.
“This has taken place despite the fact that council water rates have gone up by over 600% in the past couple of weeks with no improvement on accessing clean, safe and potable water.
“These women have become dependent on unclean and unsafe sources of water and these persistent water shortages have led to a number of recurring health crises linked to contaminated water.”
WCoZ said access to clean water was a fundamental human right guaranteed in the Constitution.
The women called on the local authority to urgently provide an emergency water supply plan.
“Therefore, the correlation between water and gender cannot be overstated. It is an undisputed fact that water plays a crucial role in the socio-economic status of women.
“WCoZ thus submits that an unresolved water crisis will inherently give birth to an unresolved gender equality crisis,” they said.
Last week, council spokesperson Vimbai Chingwaramusee said the city’s water challenges were being caused by two electric motors which developed faults.
She said repairing the pumps would take four to six weeks and that council had tightened water-rationing as a result of the breakdown.
Meanwhile, most Bulawayo suburbs have continued to experience severe water cuts due to electricity challenges.Some western suburbs in the city have gone for over three days without water.
In a notice to the residents on Tuesday, town clerk Christopher Dube said the affected suburbs were likely to experience the problem up to Sunday.
“The City of Bulawayo would like to advise members of the public that the powerline feeder which also supplies electricity to the Nyamandlovu Epping Forest borehole will be shut down for maintenance purposes by the Zimbabwe Electricity, Transmission and Distribution Company,” Dube said.
He said the affected suburbs were Cowdray Park, Gwabalanda, Emakhandeni, Entumbane, Pelandaba West, Mpopoma, Magwegwe North and Magwegwe West.
The development comes after the city council in February eased water shedding from 144 to 72 hours.
Council is in the process of phasing out water-shedding after the city’s supply dams received significant inflows this year.
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