By Itai Muzondo
Masvingo – Flashback to the biblical Israelites in the wilderness, Inhabitants of Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) Runde Catchment in Masvingo Province are waiting for a Moses to strike out water from a stone as they have gone without water since May this year due to a long-running power cut by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).
Radio VOP visited Mapanzure, Gutu and Muchakata growth points where residents disclosed that amid having dry taps, ZINWA is still charging them as monthly statements are being issued to the dry communities.
“It is now three months since we have had water coming out of our tapes. Besides the tragedy which stands as a major health threat to our community, we are still being charged for a service we are not receiving as statements are being issued to ratepayers every month.
“Here in Mapanzure we are fetching water from Sogwesi river and nearby unhealthy streams a situation that have left us scared of the ticking health time bomb,” said a one of the victims, Patson Madzivire.
A source from Morgenster hospital who denied to be named disclosed that cases of diarrhoea are currently on a rapid rise due to the water shortages saying Muchakata has brought in the largest number of patients suffering from the ailment.
“The situation has seen the number of cases on people affected by diarrhoea on the rise. Currently, Muchakata has had most cases of the disease with more than thirty – four being treated and most of them are children.
“This comes as a result of people drinking untreated water thinking that water guard strikes all impurities which is not really the case,” disclosed the anonymous source.
Gutu United Residents and Ratepayers Association (GURRA) Coordinator Lloyd Mupfudze, said the small town of Gutu was a week ago caught in the unfortunate situation and blasted the service provider saying that what they are experiencing is one of the worst situations a community should be served from.
“What we are witnessing is a blatant disregard of socio economic rights quarantined in the constitution especially the right to clean and portable water. ZINWA should actually explore other means for example the use of bio gas and solar to ensure that they fulfil their mandate of providing water at all times,” said Mufudze.
Runde Catchment (Masvingo) Operations Manager, Jonathan Juma said the situation arose due to ZESA cutting power for the sole water management organisation in Zimbabwe.
“The problem arose as ZESA cut off our power lines leading us to having challenges in providing water since our pumps work with electricity.
“We are however currently working on a payment plan with ZESA so that the problem is rectified as soon as possible. ZINWA is also working on synergising with ZESA as a way of curbing such problems in the future,” said Juma.
Meanwhile, council run water systems in the Province are slowly improving due to interventions by donors with the Masvingo City Council being the latest case where they renovated their water plant with Western donors through the African Development Bank.