Most of the area’s water points are dry, and villagers have to walk almost 6 kilometres to the nearest water point.
Forty-two years after the country attained independence, some villagers in Umzingwane district still have to walk at least 6 kilometres to fetch water.
Areas such as Thandanani, Sibambene and Vulindlela are the worst affected as they lack reliable water sources such as dams and boreholes.
Sandile Ndlovu a villager from Vulindlela says they have been complaining about water challenges in the area for years but without success.
“Where we stay there are no boreholes and we are forced to walk almost 6 kilometres daily to fetch water. Life is very difficult and the majority of our neighbours have been relocating from this area due to water problems.” Says Ndlovu.
Nomalungelo Moyo of Sibambene village says some donors have been promising to drill boreholes in the area to solve the water challenges.
“It is hard even to grow vegetables because of water problems. Our concern is that since this year started it seems there are not enough rains, life is going to be more difficult for us,” she says.
Sibongumusa Ndlovu of Asithuthukeni village adds: “We end up fetching unsafe water from the rivers a distance away from us.”
Ward 7 councilor Martin Moyo confirms challenges faced by villagers in his ward.
“It is true; we are facing water problems in our ward. The boreholes are not enough to sustain the whole village. People end up fetching water from the rivers which are not safe,” Moyo says.
“During the dry season we face a lot of challenges because even our livestock cannot access enough drinking water. We have five villages and each has about 280 households. Each village has about three boreholes. These boreholes are not enough as people spend hours queuing for water,” Moyo says.
Moyo appeals to the government to intervene.
“We also appeal to the central government to construct two or more dams in our area so that livestock and people can get water. During the dry season, our livestock die because of a lack of water.”
Umzingwane District administrator Siphathisiwe Mlotshwa declined to comment on the matter.
In a statement to mark the World Water Day on March 22, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) urges stakeholders including the government to implement policies aimed at increasing access to clean, safe and potable water.
The theme for World Water Day in 2022 is “Groundwater – Making the invisible visible,” calling upon the global community to conserve precious groundwater.
ZLHR says groundwater is also key to the effective operation of industries such as agriculture, manufacturing and the service industry.
“In some instances, Zimbabweans have to travel long distances in order to access water that is clean and safe. The demand for potable water in the country continues to rise each year as the population continues to grow. It is therefore imperative for authorities to formulate effective strategies that are aimed at increasing access to clean, safe and potable water throughout the country,” says ZLHR.
The organisation says the central government has a duty to ensure that everyone has access to safe water.
“In terms of Section 77 (a) of the Constitution, everyone has the right to safe, clean and potable water. Importantly, Section 77 of the Constitution obliges the State to adopt reasonable legislative and other related measures that are designed to progressively realise the right to clean, safe and potable water,” ZLHR says.
Source: The Citizen Bulletin