Gwanda Town Council struggles to provide reliable water supplies

The Chronicle

Yoliswa Dube-Moyo, Matabeleland South Bureau Chief
GWANDA residents have expressed concern over the municipality’s capacity to manage water systems as constant water cuts continue to dog the mining town.

This comes barely a month after the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) handed over the management of water treatment plants to Gwanda and Beitbridge municipalities following a Government directive.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka presided over the historic hand-over ceremony of water treatment plants and water affairs to the two local authorities in line with the Second Republic’s devolution agenda.

Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka

Facilitating higher quality water and sanitation services is a top priority as the country moves towards attaining an upper-middle income status by 2030.

In separate interviews, residents said the council should come up with alternatives to supplement supply during water cuts in order to prevent disease outbreaks.

“We’ve been having water challenges since council took over management of water systems and wonder if this will be an everyday thing.

“While we understand that they might still be trying to get the hang of things, they should at least give us water bowsers so that we’re not stranded,” said Ms Sithokozile Siziba from Spitzkop North Extension.

She said the municipality was struggling to deliver quality service, leaving little faith in its capacity to run its own water systems.

“As it stands, the council is failing to collect refuse effectively. Sometimes their trucks will be spilling the litter instead of clearing it. It leaves one wondering if they’ll be able to deliver clean water to the residents constantly,” said Ms Siziba.

Another resident Mr Morgan Msebele said the only way to know whether or not the municipality can run its own water systems is when it is given the chance.

“They’ve failed us in various ways but it’s also important to give them an opportunity and see whether or not they can deliver.
“Already we have issues with refuse collection, the dumpsite and water challenges. Water can be a real problem and we need it to be addressed urgently,” he said.

“However, let them try and then if they fail, we will see how to proceed.”

Residents said constant water cuts were worrying and called on Zinwa to offer technical support.

“We have not had water for days and this is making our lives very difficult. One day we’re told there was a breakdown with the pump, a few days later water is restored.

“Before we know it, there’s another water cut and we’re not told what the problem is,” said another resident, Mr Nigel Mnikwa.

Gwanda Residents Association president, Mr Wellington Nare, called on the local authority and Zinwa to continue sharing critical knowledge to ensure residents have uninterrupted water supply.

Gwanda Residents Association president Mr Wellington Nare

“We held a stakeholders’ meeting with the council two weeks ago and the council told the stakeholders that they are still understudying the plant and they promised that soon all issues, which are affecting water distribution will be addressed,” he said.

“Also, with the power shortages, which are affecting the country, it is one of the causes for constant cuts. As Gwanda Residents Association, we still call upon both parties to continue sharing critical knowledge and ideas that will ensure we get water throughout the 24-hour period daily,” said Mr Nare.

Council comment could not be obtained.

Under the National Development Strategy 1, the Government targets to increase the proportion of people with access to potable water to 90 percent from the current 78 percent by 2025. — @Yolisswa

Article Source: The Chronicle

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