BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
A YEAR on, residents of Harare’s Budiriro 1 and Warren Park high-density suburbs are getting clean water thanks to the water kiosks constructed by council’s international partners to keep water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid at bay.
Commissioned last year as pilot projects, the kiosks built by United Nations Children’s Fund in partnership with the United Nations Development Programms and Oxfam have addressed water challenges that the residents were facing.
“The water is clean and we are happy that diseases like cholera and typhoid have not surfaced,” said 64-year-old Beatrice Taonezvi from Budiriro 1.
“We would travel long distances and often relied on unsafe water sources which resulted in the outbreak of cholera in 2018,” she said.
Budiriro, along with Glen View, became hotspots of the water-borne diseases which killed over 4 000 people countrywide in 2008, infecting about 100 000 others.
A first of its kind in Zimbabwe, water kiosks are solar-powered boreholes, pumping about 5 000 litres per hour.
Explaining how the system works, Lucia Muzuro, who sells the water at the kiosk, said residents had an option to buy a tap card which costs US$4.
Residents can then pre-pay and use the card whenever they need water.
“For US$1, one gets 150 litres. So, one can come with their card and swipe for water on the automated water dispenser. There is also the option of buying with cash and we sell a 20-litre bucket for $20,” she explained.
Muzuro said the kiosks had contributed to a decrease in water-borne diseases.
“They (water kiosks) have also been useful to vulnerable members of the society who cannot afford to buy the previous liquid,” she said.
“We give free water to the vulnerable members of our community like the elderly, those living with disabilities and orphans.”
Muzuro, who is also living with disability, said the kiosks had brought relief to women who were constantly being harassed by water barons at the water points.
A water management committee made up of members of the community is in charge of the daily activities and using proceeds from the sale of water has managed to maintain the kiosks in good condition.
Budiriro 1 kiosk committee secretary Aruperi Mapira said the kiosks had given hope to the residents.
“We have two tanks (10 000 litres capacity each) and another (5 000) for the toilet,” Mapira said.
She said the kiosk was powered by solar and the water was very safe since the system had filters.
“From the filters, the water goes to the UV water steriliser which ensures the water is completely clean.”
She said when one buys the US$4 tap card, they are given 100 litres for free.
Harare city has been struggling to provide clean and safe water, with many areas going without tap water for months.