LUSULU villagers in Binga face acute water shortages, with 16 boreholes serving more than 3 000 homesteads, amid claims the Binga Rural District Council has neglected the lot.
Reports are that villagers have to wake up at 3am to walk for about 10km to the nearest boreholes, where long-winding queues are a common sight.
The most affected villages are Nakaluba, Chuzya, Musazi, Kabuba, Chitongo and Ntivule all under Chief Sinamagonde.
Council is accused of neglecting villagers and only two donors reportedly operate in the area unlike in other wards in the district which are flooded by non-governmental organisations.
Councillor for Ward 17, known as Kabuba Ward, Themba Tonse Kujulu Munkombwe, confirmed the plight of the villagers who fall under his jurisdiction.
“There were 19 boreholes, but 16 are working at the moment and they are serving 3 125 homesteads and roughly about 18 000 people,” he said.
“The boreholes are not enough as villagers have to travel more than 10km to fetch water and queue there for hours.
“The issue has affected schools such as Champongo, Nsonkwa, Nakaluba and Ntivule primary schools, which have to close due to water shortages.
“The average distance for water sources for these schools is 4km, which makes the lives of teachers and pupils unbearable.”
Munkombwe said what worried villagers was that the council was doing nothing to ease the water shortages.
“Water points were pegged a long time ago, but the council is doing nothing to drill boreholes,” he continued.
“The three boreholes which broke down had their cylinders taken by the council, but up to now they have not returned them. Villagers are suffering.”
Munkombwe appealed to well-wishers to help villagers access water.
“So far I have managed to source three 5 000-litre tanks from well-wishers and we are appealing for more help,” he said.
“We don’t mind whether the water is salty or not, what we want is water for our people.”
Efforts to get a comment from Binga council chairman Dube Munkombwe were fruitless as his mobile phone was unreachable.
Binga has perennially faced water shortages, which has seen NGOs partnering with USAid to build weir dams to ease water shortages in other wards.