Mutare, villagers clash over water

MUTASA - Despite living on the banks of Pungwe River and with a pipeline running through their growth point, Mutasa District Council has no constant water supply as the city of Mutare takes the bulk of the precious liquid.

And the city of Mutare— which draws its water from Pungwe River, does not consider the fact that communities along the Pungwe pipeline are not accessing the water despite six take-off points having been provided during its construction more than a decade ago.

Most communities close to rivers and dams do not enjoy the precious liquid and Mutasa Central MP Trevor Saruwaka told villagers during a parliamentary feedback meeting at Mutasa District Centre that it is shocking that Mutare Council does not consider other communities when it draws its water rather selfishly.

Saruwaka has been pushing for access to the pipeline including engaging the  Water, Environment and Climate ministry through Parliament as the growth point is facing a worsening water problem due to limited infrastructure, aging pumps and power outage-induced water bursts.

“I was shocked when I visited the Mutare City Engineer as a follow-up to our recent engagement with the Water ministry in Parliament who told me that they were actually surprised that we were not connected as that had long been provided for,” Saruwaka said.

Water, Environment and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has revealed that plans are afoot to provide the communities access to the water for irrigation and community gardens.

“The Pungwe pipeline has six specific take-off points which were provided for by the City of Mutare during the construction phase of the pipeline… the Water, Environment and Climate ministry through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has engaged the local communities along the pipeline route with a view to setting up community gardens and irrigation schemes,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.

Saruwaka, however, said with each take-off point having a capacity of five cubic litres per hour, Mutare City Engineer Donaldson Natty, in apparent contradiction to Muchinguri-Kashiri said the water would however only suffice for household and not agricultural use.

“The engineer said water in the pipeline had also gone down such that it was now even taking in dirt which would also further affect the amount of water we will still be permitted to access as priority will always be on the water reaching Mutare,” Saruwaka said.

Mutasa District Centre Ward Councillor Lillian Chadzingwa also raised concern that the growth point was experiencing serious water woes with some areas going for more than two weeks without water as Zinwa contends with constant breakdowns and power outages in water provision.

“I think the demand for water from the current infrastructure is oversubscribed,” Chadzingwa said noting that Zinwa had connected rural communities around the growth point which now negatively affects supply to areas in the district centre.
“There was no need for Zinwa to connect more people without first improving the capacity of their infrastructure,” Saruwaka weighed in.

A Zinwa official, one Mugebe, who addressed the gathering, conceded that the current water pumping capacity was inadequate and only sufficient to less than half of the 510 households they are currently supplying adding that the constant breakdowns were due to electricity faults.

Mugebe said the frequent pipe bursts are a result of back hammering as electricity is abruptly cut due to the steep gradient they pump the water to the reservoirs from the treatment plant while the pumps have about half the capacity of their requirement of 30 cubic litres per hour.

Comments (3)

I hope its a lesson to the people of Mutasa district, that Zanu Pf has failed.Its time for them to vote for MDC-T, for their fortunes to change.

tatenda - 11 November 2015

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