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The water woes plaguing Mapfungautsi community: A dire situation

Innocent Muraiwa

GOKWE: In a distressing turn of events, residents of Mapfungautsi have been grappling with severe water shortages, raising serious concerns about their daily lives and the future of their community. The ongoing water woes have become a matter of utmost urgency, prompting authorities to take immediate action.

For several months now, the residents have been facing acute water scarcity, highlighting an issue that has been neglected for far too long. The situation has reached such a critical point that it is now affecting almost every aspect of daily life, including cooking, sanitation, and hygiene.

Local sources indicate that the root cause of these water shortages lies in the rapid population growth in recent years, coupled with outdated and overburdened infrastructure. Insufficient water storage facilities have worsened the situation, leading to an unreliable and inconsistent water supply.

Residents recount their daily struggles, as they are forced to endure hours of waiting in long queues for a limited supply of water from one communal borehole. The situation is amplified during the scorching summer months that we are now entering, leaving households particularly vulnerable. Even basic tasks such as drinking, bathing, and laundry have become challenging, pushing the community to its limits.

Community leaders and concerned citizens have voiced their frustrations, demanding immediate attention from local authorities. They argue that the water shortages not only weigh heavily on the resident’s quality of life but also hamper economic growth and prosperity. Many businesses have been adversely affected, and the overall development of the area is at risk.

Community leaders and concerned citizens have voiced their frustrations, demanding immediate attention from local authorities. They argue that the water shortages not only weigh heavily on the resident’s quality of life but also hamper economic growth and prosperity. Speaking in an interview, Mapfungautsi community representative member, Takson Chabaya (42), stated that one borehole is not sufficient enough to cover the whole of Mapfungautsi which has a lot of people.

“Water challenges are deeply rooted in Gokwe, as residents, we are struggling to survive with these rigorous prevailing conditions. The community is in a difficult situation as children travel from remote locations to Mapfungautsi ground to fetch water, we are really in trouble.

“More than a hundred households benefit from one source of water which is a terrible moment to the community, we appeal to the government to help curb water challenges that are seriously choking the lives of people in Gokwe,” he said.

The consequences of this crisis stretch far beyond inconvenience. Health concerns have escalated, with fear of such cases that includes waterborne diseases and sanitation-related illnesses among the community. For children, the lack of clean water poses a serious threat to their overall well-being, hindering their ability to thrive and develop.

Aspiring candidate for Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC), Councilor Philemon Ngwaya emphasized the need for more borehole drilling projects to be spearheaded within the community of Gokwe in a bid to eradicate the persistent water problems affecting people’s lives.

“The current water source is susceptible to some different diseases that can spring up like cholera due to unmanageable crowds. There should be urgent action to the problem. On the same note, I confidently claim myself to be a visionary leader who will do his best to fix the water challenges that the community is currently facing because this is the same community where I live.”

Speaking in an interview with this reporter, Gokwe Town Mayor Never Gwanzura, reviewed that residents were shying away from the issue of prepaid meters that was introduced by ZINWA.

“Congestion at solar-powered boreholes in Gokwe center is a result of the community residents who are reluctant to recharge their prepaid meters which were introduced by ZINWA after having observed that people had huge debts.  Apart from the issue of prepaid meters, the residents have also refused to pay a fixed charge of $USD10 to ZINWA every month. Because of this people have opted to use borehole water in fear of facing some expenses with ZINWA. But, the idea behind this new system of prepaid meters will go a long way in maintaining proper and wise use of water. I also want to speak on the issue of fixed charges of $USD10, it is just speculation spreading among the residents, there is nothing like that.

“On behalf of Gokwe Town Center, I tabled down with the ZINWA officials for some negotiations so that they would loosen their payment methods. Unfortunately, they were at loggerheads, they vehemently denied the proposal. It’s now fifteen years with Gokwe facing water challenges. If things work well, I am anticipating drilling some other boreholes in order to improve permanent and cheap water sources,” he said.

Aspiring legislature for the ruling ZANU-PF party in Mapfungautsi Constituency Davison Masvisvi denied that there were water challenges in Gokwe saying that residents prefer to use boreholes because they do not want to pay tariffs to ZINWA.

“There are no water challenges in Gokwe Town Centre. The truth is that the Gokwe GDP is low, 20% are vendors so they do not want expenditure, they avoid ZINWA water and utilize water from their nearest solar-powered boreholes which are for free. We do not have any water challenges in Gokwe town center, water is found copiously. We are very fortunate that the water Charges are paid in local currency at the prevailing interbank rate,” he added.

The road ahead remains arduous and uncertain for the Mapfungautsi community who are requesting another borehole. It is essential that the community comes together, supporting and engaging in water conservation practices to alleviate the strain on the existing resources. Public awareness campaigns focusing on responsible water usage and sharing information on local water-saving techniques could prove instrumental in mitigating the crisis.

As the residents of Mapfungautsi endure the hardships caused by the ongoing water shortages, their hopes remain tied to the immediate implementation of effective measures. The situation serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for sustainable infrastructure development and responsible resource management to ensure a better future for all.

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