Serious water shortages have hit communities in Zaka rural district after water points, wells ran dry and boreholes broke down. Speaking during the community feedback meeting facilitated by Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) in ward 18, the villagers stated that, the residents have been reduced to water scavengers as the water crisis worsen owing to lack of repair and maintenance of boreholes and water points by the District Development Fund (DDF) department and the Rural District Council. The villagers have reportedly engaged ward 18 councilor Mr Mativenga and the Ward Development Committee (WADCO) over the water challenges, however the community members are worried that public officials have been lackadaisical about the issue.
The villagers highlighted that the situation on the ground is so pathetic. Mupisa, a local community borehole which serves Maputsa, Marufu, Chongore, Gaza and other local villages is currently malfunctioning. The community members have been previously making contributions for the refurbishment of Mupisa and other local boreholes, however many of these boreholes only functioned for a few days before breaking down again. Many of these boreholes no longer reach the water table due to low rainfall, therefore there is need for further drilling and installation of new and dipper water pipes.
“Owing to malfunctioning of several boreholes in our community, villagers are now drawing water from unprotected shallow wells along Mushavhutwi River and Makambe dam which is about 5 to 7 kilometers from other villages. These water sources are being consumed by both humans and livestock, posing serious health risks to the people” said one community member.
Headman Madzivire, a WADCO member for Ward 18 confirmed the engagements between the Councilor, WADCO and COTRAD portfolio committee on water supply over the matter. He stated that further engagements between WADCO, public officials and relevant authorities are underway in trying to find a lasting solution to the problem.
Improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene is critical especially during this COVID-19 pandemic period. An urgent solution in resolving the water crisis in Zaka district is required through drilling more boreholes to assist the affected communities. In some communities there is need to repair the existing water infrastructure. COTRAD will continue to engage the local council and public officials until the water crisis is rectified. Access to clean and safe water is a constitutional right as enshrined in section 77 that, every person has the right to clean and safe water.
Link of a video taken during the water crisis discussion in Zaka:
Headman Madzivire updating the community members about the engagements made towards the refurbishment of Mupisi borehole in VIDCO 2, Zaka ward 18.
Pictures of COTRAD Community structures during water point cleanup program in Zaka ward 18:
Source: COTRAD Zimbabwe