George Maponga in Masvingo
Masvingo City Council has come under fire for failing to restore normal water supplies with residents charging that the current situation was untenable and militated against efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Council introduced a tight water rationing regime a fortnight ago where suburbs take turns to get supplies on selected days but residents have now raised a red flag over council’s failure to stick to the timetable.
Over the past two days, most suburbs have been completely dry with no water supplies while flocking to the few boreholes dotted around the city raising the spectre of spreading Covid-19.
Council is currently pumping far less than the 15 megalitres daily. It has been pumping the same amount since the turn of the year after one of the pumps at Bushmead Waterworks plant malfunctioned.
Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Association spokesperson Mr Godfrey Mutimba had no kind words for the city fathers.
“The city fathers are sleeping on the wheel by failing to provide water with some suburbs going for up to five days without the precious liquid. The situation also militates against Government’s ongoing fight to contain Covid-19. How can residents wash their hands when they don’t have water? Some end up queuing at the few boreholes that have water,” said Mr Mutimba.
However, town clerk Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa said the local authority was doing all it can under difficult circumstances.
“We had no power for some days at Bushmead because of a fault and we are trying to restore normal service so that we can supply as per our rationing regime.”
Engineer Mukaratirwa said they expect the situation to normalise by end of next week when a repaired pump is due for reinstallation.
“We pump half our capacity(15ML) after one of our pumps broke down and if there is another fault it worsens the situation because already we are operating below capacity.”
Masvingo pumps 30ML daily under normal situations which cannot meet demand now estimated at 48ML.
A planned water augmentation project to ramp up output to 60ML daily is expected to solve bring reprieve.