Residents forced to pay $1 for borehole water

via Residents forced to pay $1 for borehole water | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo on Monday, October 7, 2013 

With no end in sight to Harare’s water shortages, unscrupulous youths are said to be cashing in on the crisis by demanding $1 from residents who visit some of the city’s boreholes to fetch the commodity.

This is said to be prevalent in the city’s high density suburbs which rely on boreholes for their water supply.

According to the Daily News, in areas such as Zengeza 4, in Chitungwiza, scores of unemployed youths are taking advantage of desperate residents, by forcing them to purchase water from donor-drilled boreholes.

For those who fail to pay, the alternative is spending as much as four hours in long-winding, disorderly queues.

Due to the prolonged water crisis, residents are left with no choice but to fork out their hard-earned cash to jump the queue because they cannot afford to waste hours queuing instead of fending for their families.

Residents who spoke to the paper said the youths, who control the boreholes the whole day and deal ruthlessly with elderly people, demand $1 per 20-litre bucket.

Precious Shumba, leader of the Harare Residents Trust, condemned the practice and said relevant municipalities should intervene to stop the exploitation of residents by the youths.

“Water is a right and no-one, regardless of their connections, should deprive others of access to water.

“Although we have not received such reports from Harare residents, we condemn any form of exploitation directed at members of the community. These boreholes are communal water sources drilled for the enjoyment of everyone.

“Residents should be protecting rather than being at the forefront of exploiting each other,” Shumba said.

Shumba also called on the local authorities to deploy municipal police to boreholes cited or reported as problem areas.

“There is a lot that the government and local authorities can do to ensure that residents access water, such as making it available through bowsers and speedily repairing the water infrastructure.

“The situation in Chitungwiza, which receives its water from Harare, is made worse by the fact that the municipality owes Harare City Council a lot of money in arrears,” Shumba added.

The Harare City Council is only producing 450 megalitres per day of water against a daily demand of 900 megalitres, with more than 60% lost through leaks.

China’s EximBank has loaned Harare $144 million to renovate the Morton Jaffray Waterworks in a bid to boost water supplies. But it will take at least three years for the refurbishment to be completed and for the situation to improve.