Masvingo suffers crippling water shortages

via Masvingo suffers crippling water shortages | SW Radio Africa by Tichaona Sibanda  December 20, 2013 

The town of Masvingo has had a water shortage for the last five days and most residents are now using water from boreholes and streams. The residents have expressed fears of a disease outbreak because of this.

The acting Town Clerk, Lovemore Tanyanyiwa, confirmed the shortages and said the pumping capacity has been adversely affected by the decreasing levels of water in the main supply dam, Mutirikwi.

The council uses two water pumps to draw water from Mutirikwi but the levels have so decreased that the other pump is no longer able to withdraw water. Tanyanyiwa told the media the remaining pump draws water at 50 percent capacity and could not meet demand.

Tongai Matutu, the former MDC-T MP for Masvingo Urban, told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the population of the town has increased while the water available has remained the same since the town was built.

The infrastructure in Masvingo was constructed to accommodate 50,000 residents only, but the oldest town in the country now has a population of over 200,000. Matutu said the population of the town has been increasing rapidly, putting pressure on available services and facilities.

The shortage comes at a time when the national budget, presented by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa on Thursday, did not provide any resources for water development.

‘Nothing has been set aside by the government to improve the provision of water in the country. In Masvingo, the problem has been worsened by the fact that council cannot find a suitable reservoir to pump water from. The boreholes have not been adequately serviced and are pumping out less water,’ Matutu said.

The former legislator said there was a need to invest in new infrastructure as the old water system was failing to cope with the ever-growing population.

‘In Masvingo we have witnessed a massive rural to urban migration and the town now resembles a rural set up, than an urban one,’ Matutu added.

Most high density neighborhoods in the country have dug shallow wells after the collapse of water and sanitation infrastructure, creating ideal conditions for the proliferation of cholera and other waterborne diseases.