A CRIPPLING water crisis is looming in Mpanedziba village in Tsholotsho North as the only major water source, Garikari Dam, which villagers are sharing with livestock, is fast running out of the precious liquid.
Villagers hinted that fetching water at dawn was taking a toll on most marriages.
The more than 300 families are also at risk of contractions waterborne diseases as the water is muddy and traditional purification methods have proven ineffective.
Last week, Southern Eye heard that women start flocking to the dam as early as 1am daily and this has been happening for years.
This, they say, is threatening their marriages as they no longer have “quality time” with their husbands.
Community leader headman Peter Sibanda said a water pump donated in 1999 by the Water ministry was lying idle at his homestead.
The pump was meant to be installed after expansion of the dam, but due to years of “political turmoil” the equipment is gathering dust.
Sibanda accused the local council of stalling development.
“The dam is the major water source we have,” he explained.
“As a community, we have plans of expanding the dam and have raised money, more than $1 000, for the project.
“All we require is an excavator which council has, but they are not willing to release it.”
Sibanda said they feared that their livestock could soon die due to lack of water.
Narrating their daily routine, Ntombelanga Ncube said they started queuing as early as 1am, only to fill one bucket per household.
“We are suffering,” she said.
“What is also annoying is that we are only told to fill up one bucket. The water is extremely muddy and we occasionally have diarrhoea.
“It pains us that we rise very early, leaving our partners in bed. For married people that is not good.
“That is now slowly stoking tension as we hardly have time to fulfil our marital obligations.”
Speaking at the meeting, Bulawayo Agenda programmes officer Butholezwe Nyathi expressed concern that villagers were not fully enjoying their right to safe drinking water.
“Access to clean water is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution, but we note with concern that villagers here don’t have water,” he said.
“The community has shown passion to access water by raising funds to expand the dam and drill boreholes, but absence of an excavator is a stumbling block.”
Nyathi said clean water and sanitation facilities were basic necessities for all Zimbabweans, which the State should prioritise as the first step in saving lives of villagers.