HARARE - Chitungwiza residents have appealed to government to quickly intervene to ease water woes that have worsened after the scrapping of bills early this month.
Before a government directive to all local authorities to write-off water bills in July, Chitungwiza residents used to have running water in their taps twice a week, but now the situation has worsened, raising fears of a cholera outbreak.
So dire is the situation that some residents are resorting to shallow wells for water while others are spending their productive hours in queues for the precious liquid at the few boreholes drilled by parliamentarians using the Constituency Development Fund.
They are now appealing to government to ensure that their right to clean and safe water is respected in line with the humanitarian gesture shown by outgoing Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to ease pressure on residents by scrapping their bills.
Grace Chinake, a 47-year-old widow residing in Unit J said she hoped Chombo would go a step further and avail the precious liquid to the sprawling town of nearly two million people.
“Since we received our July bills which show that our water bills had been scrapped, our taps immediately ran dry.
“We have to rely on boreholes because we have not had water for the past two weeks,” said Chinake, adding she feared for her family’s health as it cannot be ascertained whether the borehole water meets the required health standards.
In 2008, over 4 000 people died after a cholera outbreak which was a result of unsafe drinking water.
At the weekend, the Daily News witnessed long winding queues of mainly women and children scrounging for water in dug out wells, streams and at the limited boreholes.
Ottillia Mutsvunguma, a high school teacher, said the situation will be worsened with schools which are about to open.
“I will have to adjust my timetable to be able to look for water when schools open if this situation persists. It means people will have to wake up at around 3am to cope with the long queues at the wells and be early for work,” said Mutsvunguma.
However, it is unlikely that the Zanu PF government will help them after President Robert Mugabe, last weekend, said Harare and Bulawayo residents should demand service delivery from MDC because they voted against his Zanu PF party in the recent elections.
Mugabe made the remark while addressing mourners at the burial of Mike Karakadzai at the National Heroes Acre.
Chitungwiza receives Water from Harare, but the country’s capital has failed to regularly pump water to the dormitory town owing to a myriad of challenges.
This has been made worse by the dormitory town’s failure to pay for water supplied by Harare which in turn has resorted to throttle supplies force payment.