Thupeyo Muleya in Beitbridge
WATER vendors are making a killing in Beitbridge as the border town is faced with the shortage of the precious liquid which has upped demand for purified and borehole water.
Things got to a head in January as the battle to control water management between the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and Beitbridge Municipality raged on.
The two entities have been having numerous court battles over a disputed $272 million debt.
Zinwa installed prepaid bulk water meters to force council to settle its debt.
The latest move has seen the town getting less than 7 000 cubic meters of water weekly compared to 44 000 cubic meters it was getting.
This has triggered intermittent water shortages due to limited supplies and opened up business opportunities for those with boreholes and purified water dealers across the town.
Beitbridge has an estimated 70 000 people and plays host to another 13 000 transiting through the border daily, requiring at least 15 megalitres of water a day.
“To us, it’s a blessing because we are now seeing new clients coming to buy water and that is a boost to our business,” said Mr Clayton Mupambiki the managing director of Southern Aqua.
“We now sell more than 10 000 litres of purified water per day up from 5 000 litres previously. If things continue this way, we may consider expanding our businesses so that no one will be left without purified water.”
According to a water vendor who preferred anonymity, the demand for the precious liquid is rising daily.
“I am getting rich pickings from selling borehole water to residents at R3 per bucket and business is brisk in the morning and evening when demand is high,” he said.
Ms Mollen Gumbo said she was now selling more than 24 units of purified water at Mashavhire Business Centre daily compared to six last year.
Her customers are mainly travellers who pass through the border town daily.
Beitbridge lies in a semi-arid region and records high temperatures in summer.
Mr Asani Chawaura said the uptake of purified water was increasing.
“I can now sell 400 units of purified water daily compared to the previous 120 units. Hopefully, the figures will increase as more people start using the border,” he said.
A Dulivhadzimu resident, Ms Quiet Moyo said the water crisis has brought a lot of challenges since they now have to send children with purified water to school.
She said the community was living by God’s grace considering that some vendors were getting the water from contaminated boreholes or unknown sources.
“An average household needs about 10 by 25 litres buckets of water daily for cooking, bathing and toilet. One has to part with between R30 and R40 to buy the water from the vendors,” she said.
Mr Bhekimpilo Mbedzi said the water crisis had become a cause for concern and was likely to trigger an outbreak of diseases like dysentery, typhoid and cholera. — @tupeyo
Article Source: The Chronicle