Water problems hit Masvingo

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By Tonderai saharo

MASVINGO city council has resorted to supplying residents with water bowsers to curb the acute shortages of the precious liquid.

The local authority has for the past two years struggled to adequately supply the over 200 000 population with portable water due to constant breakdowns as age takes its toll on the country’s first urban settlement.

Most residents now rely on borehole water which were drilled in the city by a non-governmental organisation Oxfam, but the water quality was condemned by health experts as unsuitable for human consumption.

Acting Masvingo Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa in a statement Wednesday warned residents to brace for longer periods without water after another fault developed at the Bushmead water works.

He said the situation has been worsened by intermittent power supplies and the hot weather that has increased water demand.

Mukaratirwa said council will provide some relief to residents by providing water bowsers in most affected areas.

“City of Masvingo wishes to advice that due to a fault in pumping equipment at the Bushmead intake pumping station, the pumping capacity is constrained to below normal

“With the most affected areas being on high ground or at the end of the water supply lines. The city will put in place measures to provide some relief including sending out water bowsers to the worst affected areas,” reads the statement.

However residents reacted angrily to the announcement and accused the local authority of sleeping on duty.

“They should have upgraded their pumping equipment long back as the city’s population was also growing, naturally the demand of water was raising.

“This water crisis has been with us for the past two years but nothing meaningful to change the situation is taking place,” said a resident.

Masvingo is currently supplying residents with less than 20 mega litres of water a day against a demand of over 60 mega litres with officials at town house pinning their hopes on securing a US$50 million Chinese loan to upgrade its pumping equipment.