THE country’s first urban settlement, Masvingo, has gone for almost four days without running water leaving residents on the precipice of an outbreak of waterborne diseases less than five months after the cancellation of all residential council bills.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo scrapped off all residents’ rates and water debts accumulated between February 2009 and June 30 2013 in what observers warned would have a boomerang effect on service delivery and local authority finances.
Although the city fathers have put on a brave face saying nothing much had changed, most Masvingo City suburbs as well as the city centre have had no running water since Saturday.
Residents have been desperately flooding boreholes sunk by a local non-governmental organisation for community nutrition gardens.
The situation is more desperate in the central business district and some low-density suburbs where there are no community boreholes.
“This is bad. I last had normal water supplies four days ago,” a resident from the populous Mucheke high-density suburb said.
“They (council) should at least provide an explanation or provide alternative water supplies in bowsers,” the resident said.
Residents are also in panic mode because of the increasingly dwindling water levels in Lake Mutirikwi which supplies the city’s water.
Water in the city’s main supply dam Lake Mutirikwi is said to be at an all-time low of about 8%.
Zimbabwe National Water Authority public relations officer Tsungirirai Shoriwa could not verify the water levels by the time of going to print, despite numerous efforts to confirm the official figure.
Masvingo mayor Hubert Fidze, however, attributed the water problems to an electrical fault that he said forced the local authority to halt pumping.
“There was an electrical fault along our pumping stations and some Zesa poles had fallen. We could not pump water, but the fault is being attended to and we expect normal water supplies to be restored tomorrow (Wednesday),” Fidze said.