By Marshall Bwanya
Severe water shortages in Harare’s Warren Park 1-2 suburbs have forced local residents to resort to alternative unsanctioned sources such as bush streams, ditches and unlicensed boreholes for uses such as doing laundry, cooking, bathing, washing dishes and other household uses.
The eastern parts of Warren Park 1-2 have gone for close to two months without running tap water. Residents accessing unclean water from these sources are constantly exposed to various health hazards like water borne epidemics such as cholera or typhoid.
Warren Park 1-2 councillor Tichavona Mhetu said he was aware of the crisis and was embarking on initiatives to secure funding for drilling alternative boreholes in the Eastern parts of the suburb.
Mhetu reiterated that the water crisis bedeviling Warren Park 1-2 was emanating from the economic crisis and that he was engaging with relevant stakeholders to implement sustainable alternatives to remedy the critical situation.
“It is so pathetic that we are receiving many complaints of diarrhea cases linked with these unsanctioned water sources residents have been exposed to because of the unavailability of sustainable clean water alternatives.
“I have since been engaging with several cooperatives, potential donors and former residents based in the diaspora to find a lasting solution to remedy this water crisis.
“A donor and several Warren Park residents based in the diaspora have since promised to avail funding for mechanised boreholes to mitigate the current crisis,” he said.
Residents who spoke to Nehanda Radio bemoaned the fact that the water crisis had piled more misery on them by inconveniencing their livelihoods and standard of life.
Maria Guchu a Warren Park 1-2, resident said she aware of the health hazards posed by accessing water in bush streams but the absence of running tap water without an alternative had left her with no choice.
“The water crisis we are experiencing has made life unbearable and good hygiene virtually impossible for us women. Government, the local council and the powers that be need to take into cognisance that us women go through a menstrual cycle that requires one to have access to adequate water supply to remain clean and hygienic.
“As a woman, wife and mother I need constant supply of water to cook, do the dishes and laundry for my 18 month old baby also whose clothes always have to be clean,” she said.
Melissa Chimutsa another resident bemoaned that local authorities were not putting their welfare and well being at heart by failing to avail alternative water sources.
“The local council indaquency to avail alternatives water sources for us residents displays a lack of interest in people’s welfare and livelihoods.
“Many occasions we have approached them as residents airing our grievances they always undermine us by pointing out the lack of forex and resources to implement the necessary infrastructure for us to have running water.
“What boggles my mind is why have they not drilled boreholes which do not necessarily require foreign currency for us to access clean water,” she said.
The closure of Moffat Jaffrey treatment plant by Harare City Council today citing foreign currency and chemical challenges to maintain operations is going to worsen the situation forcing more residents to resort to Bush streams if sustainable water alternatives are not immediately realised.