Chitungwiza council, residents clash over water

HARARE - Chitungwiza residents are up-in-arms with the town’s council whom they accuse of shutting down the only borehole that was servicing Unit O.

The residents alleged Chitungwiza City Council blocked the borehole that was supplying hundreds of households because they felt residents were no longer paying water bills.

However, what makes the situation dire is the fact that residents can only get water from Council once a week.

Thousands of people who depended on the borehole for water are living in fear of contracting waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery as they now have to use unsafe nearby streams.

Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) programmes coordinator Marvelous Kumalo said council shut down the borehole because residents were no longer paying their water bills.

“The council no longer has a source of revenue since the people are not paying the water bills as they use free borehole water, so to make the people pay they closed the borehole,” he said.

Kumalo said in Chitungwiza’s Unit O, a borehole that was constructed by a non-governmental organisation to serve the residents was closed following the directive of the council.

“There is a borehole that has been supplying water to Unit O residents and it was closed a week ago because the people where no longer paying bills to the council,” he said.

Kumalo said the situation is dire in Chitungwiza as the boreholes built by MPs under the Constituency Development Fund are now down and those that are functioning are being locked.

Priscilla Vengesai, acting town clerk at Chitungwiza City Council dismissed the allegations arguing that they were actually servicing the borehole.

“Yes, we closed the borehole but we did not do it to fix the people, we are servicing the boreholes so that they function well.

“How can we go against our obligation of providing water for the people, the public is being misinformed,” she asked.

A Chitungwiza resident who refused to be named said that he was disappointed by the move that was taken by the council as now they have to resort to tape water and wells for survival.

“We have no water again; they closed the borehole that has been providing us safe water, now we are back at the well life.

“It is disturbing because the council doesn’t provide water for us yet they shut the only water source we had,” he said.

The town has been hit by a typhoid and cholera outbreak in recent years due to water shortages.

This led to the digging of wells and drawing water from contaminated sources.

The sewerage system has been overwhelmed by the huge numbers of people who now live in the town with many residential stands corruptly allocated and are facing demolition.

Chitungwiza does not have a source of water; it relies on Harare that can only supply so much.

This situation is compounded by the fact that Chitungwiza only gets 30 megalitres of water per day from the capital city although it requires 43 megalitres daily.

Harare is also battling to meet water demands from its residents.

Comments (2)

really shutting down boreholes with clean water so that people will pay for water that is not availabe? this is madness!!!!!

yoyo - 28 January 2014

They have to raise the high salaries of the top ten council employees. What has Mugabe really done? The white man was bad but this level of collapse and madness would never happen in Ian Smith's time. Mugabe has really failed Zimbabwe and we all need to remember that.

Bingo Wokwa Gutu - 29 January 2014

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