Various towns in Zimbabwe are battling with acute water shortages, leading to calls from residents that urgent action be taken to restore proper services.
Shortages have been reported in and around Zimbabwe’s major cities, and in Harare at least seven suburbs have had little to no water for well over a week.
The Harare Residents Trust said that areas like Glen Norah, Glen View, Budiriro, Highfield and Kuwadzana have been badly affected, with the city council blaming old equipment and high demand for the water woes.
Precious Shumba, the director of the Residents Trust, said the worst affected area has been Chitungwiza, which has faced serious shortages for about three weeks. The high density area was the centre of the cholera epidemic that swept Zimbabwe in late 2008, leaving thousands dead. Shumba said nothing has been done since then to ensure that residents have access to clean water, which is essential in preventing water borne diseases like cholera.
“The water situation remains critical and people remain at risk because residents are resorting to digging wells and boreholes without following proper regulations. So the threats of diseases like typhoid and cholera remain very high,” Shumba told SW Radio Africa.
He added that residents are desperate for action, and called on the incoming council leadership to prioritise the water and sanitation issues plaguing the capital city.
Meanwhile the City of Gweru and its immediate surroundings were also battling serious water shortages this week, with the authorities reportedly citing an equipment breakdown at the local water plant. In a statement released on Wednesday, Gweru Town Clerk Daniel Matawu said the water challenges were likely to last for the whole of this week. He said the water challenges were a result of a burnt motor at ‘Range Booster’.
“The Gweru City Council would like to inform all the residents of Gweru that one of the pump sets at our Range Booster has developed a serious fault. The fault involves a burnt motor,” he said.
The water problems across the country come as ZANU PF has been insisting that Western imposed targeted sanctions are to blame for the problems dogging Zimbabwe, including issues like cholera outbreaks. This is despite the fact that over the past three decades Robert Mugabe’s government has put no money into the upkeep of local infrastructure, needed to ensure basic services are available to residents.