By Zwelethu Zikhali
Victoria Falls, October 24, 2016 – A top rate payers group says it was preparing to lobby central government to declare the current water crisis in the country a national emergency to pave way for a concerted and more coordinated approach to remedy the disaster.
The Zimbabwe Union of Residents and Ratepayers Associations (ZURRA), a collective body of residents associations countrywide, said this during a recent Local Government Investment conference in Victoria Falls.
A number of towns are currently grappling with water shortages amid growing fears of a disease outbreak as residents resort to unhygienic sources of water.
Residents in many urban areas now endure lengthy periods without the precious liquid, with Bulawayo recently warning city dwellers to brace for 24 hour water shedding.
The water situation throughout the country has also been compounded by the recent drought period caused by the El Nino, and climate change conditions bedevilling Zimbabwe and the rest of Southern Africa.
Government has also come under fire in many instances for continued failure to invest in water supply infrastructure to match the demand caused by ever ballooning urban populations throughout the county.
However, ZURRA spokesperson Marvellous Khumalo said declaring the water situation a national emergency would enable humanitarian organisations to start mobilising support to mitigate the disaster.
He said his organisation was also pushing for government to set aside funds for dam construction throughout the country in its 2017 national budget.
“With regards to the water situation in the country, these are issues of national importance and we are in the process of lobbying government to declare it a national emergency so that those who are into humanitarian help can act,” he said.
He said because of the current economic situation, it was difficult for local authorities and government to address water challenges.
“We want to push for prioritisation of provision of construction of dams in the 2017 budget to cushion water problems,” added Khumalo.
ZURRA was formed early this year when various residents associations countrywide joined forces to come up with a formidable mother body to lobby issues of residents from one angle.