Residents angry as Byo council fails to restore water after 8 days

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

BULAWAYO city authorities have failed to meet their four-day grace period promised to residents to restore tap water supplies to households following major refurbishment works at the city’s reservoirs.

The city council announced a crippling four-day water shedding schedule last week starting from Tuesday up to Saturday.

However, a survey carried out by Tuesday revealed that some suburbs have failed to receive the necessity despite the lapse of the official council water shedding programme.

The most affected suburbs included, Nkulumane, Nketa, Tshabalala, Sizinda and Luveve. These suburbs have gone for almost eight days without running water.

The situation has forced some residents to travel distances of 10km and above to the city centre to find some water while others were buying the liquid at prices ranging from $2 to $5 per a 20 litre container from water vendors.

“The city council should have properly staggered the rehabilitation works so that residents are not affected by water shortages,” said one angry Sizinda resident who preferred to be identified as Seka Moses.

“Imagine, we last received water on Monday last week. We have been relying on the nearby boreholes but all of them now have dried up due to overwork.”

Residents feared the situation could lead to an outbreak in waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera.

“Some of us have now stopped using our home toilets because they are now a health hazard,” said one Brenda Ndebele, a Nkulumane resident.

“Chances of experiencing water borne diseases if we do not get water as a matter of urgency are very high considering that a lot of people are now using surrounding bushes during the night to relieve themselves.”

Ambrose Sibindi, who chairs the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), said council should have consulted extensively with residents before embarking on a tortuous load shedding schedule that has left people stranded.

“I think council could have done more in disseminating information about the water shedding,” Sibindi said.

“It seems a lot of residents were caught unaware and they did not have contingency plans to store enough water to see them through the duration of the refurbishment.”

Town Clerk Christopher Dube attributed the non-availability of water in some suburbs to low pumping pressure.

“Delays should be expected at Criterion and Magwegwe reservoirs as water levels have dropped to 1.25 metres.

“The water treatment capacity at the plant is still very minimal due to on-going works. All areas that did not receive water are scheduled to receive the water in the morning of 9 July 2019,” said Dube.