THOUSANDS of Chitungwiza residents sourcing water from shallow wells and open streams face the risk of contracting water-borne diseases.
The town was the epi-centre of the cholera epidemic that swept through Zimbabwe in 2008/2009 leaving more than 4 000 people dead.
Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust (Chitrest) director Marvellous Kumalo said they were worried of a repeat of the 2008/2009 cholera outbreak as many families relied on unsafe water sources.
“The onset of the rain season further compounds the situation as dirt will flow into shallow wells and open streams where residents are drawing water for domestic consumption,” Kumalo said.
The situation in the town has been further worsened as only a few boreholes sunk by the United Nations Children’s Fund were functional.
“The high temperatures has left a lot of the boreholes empty as the water table continues to sink thereby leaving a lot of the residents with no option, but to drink the unsafe water in shallow wells,” Kumalo added.
Chitrest’s warning came as the Health ministry warned that Harare may experience a cholera epidemic as water supply to the capital has become erratic with many suburbs receiving water once a week.
Chitungwiza also relies on treated water from Harare, as it has no water body and treatment plants of its own despite its burgeoning population.
Kumalo said his organisation was now preparing an all-stakeholders conference for Chitungwiza to deal with the water crisis.
“We are planning to host a water conference to discuss the current situation and solutions to save the situation and lives of the residents,” he said.
The local authority has been on record that the water situation in the town will only improve once it constructs its own dam to supply water to Chitungwiza.
Muda Dam, which has been touted as the panacea, remains on the shelves due to lack of funds.
Source : Masasi eHarare