By Ronald Chuma
Despite the recent heavy rains which almost filled up the city’s water supply dams, residents of Mkoba are spending hours in queues at boreholes as the crisis worsens.
Residents are violating curfew regulations as they are forced to stand in queues into the night at the few boreholes dotted around the city.
Gweru City council has been failing to provide constant tap water provisions to residents for the past few years, forcing people to turn to boreholes to get water for all domestic uses including washing dishes, cooking, bathing and the toilets.
The heightened shortages of the precious commodity have caused unspeakable agony to women and children, who are usually the primary drawers of water for household consumption.
In an interview with Elizabeth Nyika of Mkoba 7, said women and children are being abused at borehole as males are always jumping the queues.
“Women and children are vulnerable and defenceless, violations of rights of women and children at boreholes are noticeable as males could come and fill their containers without following the queue,” she said.
Taurai Chiga of Mkoba 14 said the shortage of water is also making it harder to fight the spread of COVID-19 as many people are crowding till late without following the regulations.
“Huge numbers of people are crowding at boreholes and implementing of social distancing becomes almost impossible,” he said.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association director Cornelia Seliphiwe said he was worried about council’s silence when residents are in dire situation and struggling to get water.
“Battling with Covid-19, lockdown effects and economic hardships citizens are saddled with yet another challenge. It is with sad concern that people are suffering in Gweru due to water crisis and the City Council is silent like nothing is happening.
The outbreak of COVID-19 should be a wakeup call to Zimbabwe on the changes needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. Future pandemics may continue to disrupt the achievement of the SDGs specifically around water for all. This should serve as an opportunity for government and local authorities to foster cooperation and bilateral agreements that improve water access.