Source: Water barons take Masvingo by storm | The Sunday News 29 DEC, 2019
Walter Mswazie in Masvingo
ENTERPRISING businesspeople in Masvingo are now cashing in on incessant water cuts through selling water at between $5 and $10 per 20 litre bucket.
The habit is most prevalent in the new suburbs of Victoria Range and Runyararo West where those engaged in the business are seen with buckets full of the precious liquid and they are making a killing from desperate residents.
Victoria Range resident, Ms Mirriam Chauke said people had no choice as there was no water in the newly established suburbs, home to over 1 000 families.
“We have no choice but to buy water otherwise we will have torrid time to survive. To start with, our location is fairly new with no sewage system and piped water. The boreholes that we have were condemned with suspicions that they are contaminated by blair toilets that we use. It is against this background that a family is forced to part with at least $100 per week for water,” said Ms Chauke.
A Runyararo West resident Ms Edith Shumba said those selling water were not even sensitive to the residents’ plight as they sometimes inflate the price.
“We receive tap water only once a week or we sometimes spend three weeks without anything. The situation becomes dire when the water barons do not come. When they come, they deliberately increase the prices and most of the time we are forced to purchase little water at inflated prices,” said Ms Shumba.
Ward Three councillor Tarusenga Vhembo said it was sad that people were taking advantage of the water crisis to sell it saying the precious liquid was a human right and everyone was supposed to have access to it.
“Access to water is a human right and residents should not be made to pay for it with a leg and an arm as is the situation now. We have been trying to assist by supplying them with water in bowsers. This is a stop gap measure while we still grapple with water cuts largely caused by the incessant power cuts at the main water works, Bushmead. It is illegal to sell water to residents and I feel those people should be engaged so that they understand that what they are doing is not good,” said Clr Vhembo.
But without constant supply of water by the city council, the trend is likely going to continue.