Whinsley Masara, Chronicle Reporter
GWANDA Town has gone for a week without running water due to maintenance works, triggering fears of a disease outbreak.
Residents who spoke to The Chronicle expressed concern over the issue and said the council had not given them any explanation on the unavailability of water.
They said there have been long queues since Saturday last week at the three boreholes in the town as residents scrambled for water.
Gwanda Mayor, Councillor Knowledge Ndlovu, yesterday expressed regret over the water problems. He said they had expected maintenance work to take only two days, but the job had taken longer.
“The maintenance process is being done by UNICEF and they had estimated that it would take only two days. They were renewing old pipes as well as cleaning the reservoir tanks which were now very dirty,” the mayor said.
“We sincerely apologise to residents for the unfortunate situation but we believe the maintenance process is for their benefit. It’s meant to get them clean water when complete.”
He said the engineers carrying out the work had told them that they were almost done and expressed hope that by today the whole town will be able to access water.
Gwanda Residents Association secretary Bekezela Fuzwayo expressed fears of a health hazard.
“We were told that there’s going to be maintenance at the pump station which would run only for 48 hours starting Saturday morning but now the town has gone for a weeek without running water,” he said.
“We hope this will be rectified as a matter of urgency. We hope water will be restored soon since they keep saying they are almost through because we’re now most worried about people’s health.”
He said some people were now turning to unprotected sources of water.
“Others were seen fetching water from Mtshabezi River, about seven to eight kilometres from the town’s suburbs. This is endangering people’s health and we hope things normalise sooner than later,” said Fuzwayo.
A resident who runs a bar in the town said water challenges were not good for business.
“Most patrons have stopped coming because we have shut down our toilets while the few who come are forced to keep walking outside the bar to relieve themselves,” he said. “This is bad for business because our surroundings are now messed up and smelly.”