Protest looms as water woes hit Masvingo

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MasvingoA protest is looming in as residents ponder the next move following perennial water woes that have hit the country’s oldest town of Masvingo as the city enters into a second week with no access to tap water.

This has seen health concerns being raised as the majority of residents are relying heavily on borehole water which does not conform to the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards according to the Service Level Benchmarking (SLB) peer review report released in June.

The water crisis has become a perennial problem in the city after the new pumps which were commissioned in 2015 by then Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa broke down barely three years into their 20 years lifespan.

Since the breakdown in August, water rationing has risen and areas on high grounds could only receive water for about one hour in the early morning hours.

The problem began a week ago after the interface control units were damaged due to over voltage.

Town Clerk Adolf Gusha said the pumping capacity has been reduced to below 70% and most areas  will not receive tap water resulting in the town authorities dispatching water bowsers.

“The City of Masvingo wishes to advise its residents and the public that there was an over voltage incident that resulted in damage to all three interface control units at the Intake Tower Abstraction Pump Station at Bushmead.

“A replacement unit was found on another pump station and it was installed but the pumping capacity has been reduced to below 70 percent of the normal. As a result, the water supply will be reduced and shortages will be pronounced in areas on high ground.

“The city has mobilised water bowsers and storage tanks to supply water to the most affected areas until normal supply is restored,” said Gusha.

The Bushmead pumping station has three pumps and on a normal day, two pumps will be functioning around the clock while one will be on standby.

At the moment, one pump is functioning while the city council seeks the damaged interface control units which are said to be unavailable on the local market.

Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA) spokesperson Godfrey Mtimba said the council should put their house in order and deliver services to the paying residents.

MURRA once dragged the city council to the High Court in August when the pumps broke down and the city went for more than a week without water in the wake of the cholera outbreak.

“We have always told the council to buy new pumps but they do not listen. They choose to spend on their personal luxuries but negate their duties.

“They talk of installing storage tanks but we do not see any of them and people are suffering. We will mobilise people to protest if they do not come up with a workable solution soon,” said Mtimba