BEITBRIDGE: Most residents here have gone for more than a month without running water in a development that has forced them to resort to the Limpopo River.
Concerns have also been raised over the safety of the locals as they are forced to use water from an unprotected source.
This follows a recent decision by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) to cut off supplies after the local authority has reportedly failed to pay for water supplies.
ZINWA has taken over water supplies in the town and has gone on to install new pre-paid water meters resulting in critical water shortages.
Morgan Ncube, who chairs the tiny town’s Combined Residents Association said the situation was dire.
"ZINWA has installed pre-paid water meters against council," Ncube said.
"As a result, residents are buying dirty water from cart pushers who are getting it from the Limpopo River. We are at risk of being attacked by cholera again.
“ZINWA installed these pre-paid meters without considering that we are in a cholera zone, just because to them its money that matters.”
Ncube said residents wanted the management of the town’s water needs returned to council which has more direct communication with them.
He said ZINWA was demanding from council, 92 cents per every cubic meter pumped.
"It's too much,” he said, “So we want council to retake over the supplies and reduce the charges because now as residents, we are now paying more than the people in Harare or Bulawayo."
It is further reported that ZINWA was recently paid $20,000 by council but 15 percent of the amount was deducted as VAT.
The remainder was enough for water supplies of only three days.
“Our situation has been worsened by that fact that senior ZINWA officials who should be monitoring the water situation in Beitbridge, operate from Bulawayo and we have no one to take our complaints to.
“So, we are saying ZINWA must hand over the purification and distribution of water back to our council," he said.
Beitbridge has an estimated population of over 20,000 people but resources are also strained by thousands of travellers who pass through the town every-day on their way into Zimbabwe or on exit to South Africa.