By Dumisani Nyoni
Bulawayo, November 24, 2016 – A Bulawayo vendors and traders group has taken government and city council to task over their failure to provide adequate water supplies to residents.
The Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) said a city water rationing programme was putting women’s health at great risk.
City authorities have come under fire for failing to adhere to their own water rationing programme which has seen water cuts persist for more than the prescribed 72 hour intervals.
Some high-density suburbs are going for over a week without receiving water.
In a statement, BVTA said women who had just given birth could not continue living without clean water as this exposed their wounds to infection.
The group urged the government and council managers to take water crisis seriously before many people got affected.
“Let us lobby government to meet its promises and obligation for clean water provision for all,” the group said.
“Water shortages increase threat to women’s health and hygiene. Menstruating women cannot go without fresh water for too long,” it added.
Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo said council was doing all it could but the situation was dire and beyond their control.
“What we are working on is the limited supplies, barring that we are losing water through bursts and evaporation and also pumping capacity is limited by lack of unreliable electricity,” Moyo said.
He said they were always planning ahead of time and the setting up of a water shedding regime was in anticipation that the water crisis situation could become worse this November.
“We are talking about nature, and what can we do to mitigate nature; we are doing what we thought is best under the circumstances,” Moyo said.
Bulawayo’s perennial water woes date back to 1984.
People in the city accuse the current Zanu PF led government of lacking political will to invest long lasting solutions against the crisis.
The National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, mooted in 1912 as a solution to the crisis, is still yet to take off. The project has been used as a campaign gimmick by political parties.