|From right: Chamber secretary Vitalis Shonhai, Mukaratirwa and Maboke at the press conference|
...water access points more allow greater social distancing
City of Masvingo has promised to do more work towards ensuring that boreholes and other emergency water distribution points are friendlier to women and children, TellZim can report.
The city council held a press conference today, December 29, to clarify its position regarding the desperate water supply situation which has seen some suburbs like Mucheke F going for over a week without tap water.
This has worsened the plight especilly of women who have to enure basic domestic hygiene paractices in face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Responding to questions by TellZim on what the city was doing to ensure that women and children are protected from sexual pervesion and other forms of violence at the often overcrowded and tension-filled boreholes, Acting Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa said the municipality fully-acknowledged the situation.
“These issues have been raised at a number of fora and by some gender-based activists who have written some papers to us. In response, the local authority, with its development partners, has started a program of remodeling these water supply points. We have started with one point in Runyararo West which is in Ward 3 and another point in Ward 4 just close to Mucheke Old People’s Home.
“We have put solar-powered pumps and storage tanks so that the facilities become more user-friendly to women and children. We anticipate that the results on the yields of the boreholes will be good. And with resources permitting, we should be able to roll out more of such boreholes,” said Mukaratirwa.
He said the solar-powered boreholes were friendlier to women and children in that little physical effort is required to get water from them.
Mukaratirwa also said that the situation at solar-powered boreholes was less chaotic than at lift pumps where women and children are more vulnerable to physical and sexual violence.
In some surburbs, the city is also using bowsers to supplement erratic piped water supplies.
In his address, Mayor Collen Maboke said the latest round of severe water shortages were largely due to a transformer breakdown at Bushmead Waterworks which led to reduced pumping capacity to 50 percent of normal.
“The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), now has two transformers from that station in need of repairs following the breakdown of the other transformer in 2018.
“While shedding has been instituted to distribute water fairly to the residents, the programme is proving difficult to adhere to as a result of a preponderance of electricity supply faults affecting the Waterworks and further disrupting pumping. A case in point is a fault on 21st December 2020, where power went off at 15:38hrs and was restored the following day at 19:45hrs. In addition, there are other faults for lesser hours but they disrupt a very constrained water supply system,” said Maboke.
He said city’s supply capacity remained at 30 megalitres against a daily demand of an estimated 50 megalitres.
Ordinary boreholes in Masvingo are often overcrowded and the situation there is often chaotic and rowdy, making them coronavirus risky spaces as socila distancing is difficult to observe.