Epworth is a large, marginalized high density community in Harare whose main challenge has been water. Residents have resorted to sinking wells at their homestead. Overspill residents are overjoyed by the recent drilling of a borehole at their shopping centre which was sourced by an organisation that works hand in hand with the Assembly of God Overspill Church.The source of water for many has been wells that are not well covered.Before the borehole was constructed many challenges were being faced by the Overspill locals. The challenges included walking long distance to fetch water from wells of fellow neighbours.
Vendors at the overspill shopping centre could not hide their joy, one Miss Lizy Sibanda narrated,
“As vendors we are grateful for people who contributed to the sinking of the borehole as they have reduced our burden of carrying water from home everyday to wash the fruits and vegetables sold at the market place. Now our customers can buy healthy and clean vegetables as the water source is near us thus no need to limit water usage”
Passersby such as students also expressed gratitude as they could now afford to have some water on their way to and from school without having to go asking for water at strangers’ homes.Prior to the drilling of the new borehole, residents and vendors had to pay for water from some residents houses. Mr Mussa one of the residents who owns a well at his house charges people a fee of $3 to $5 per month for the upkeep of his well, “I charge people so as to buy cobra , tins and to pay for people who clean the well”, he said.
Many residents complained that the water fee payments being charged by well owners was too high as they do not earn enough to cater for a monthly water bill. “Construction of the borehole has saved many of us who were tormented by paying the monthly bills, now I can use that extra cash to cater for my other family needs said a resident who declined to be named.Other challenges faced were that of using open ground water contaminated due to the proximity to the toilets.Since many local wells are not well covered, they produce unclean water, which resulted in many suffering from water borne diseases such as typhoid and diarrhoea. “Now we have safe water to drink that won’t cause us any health ailments and we are sure that there will be reduction of diseases and a record of people living healthily”, said an Overspill mother.
The old saying goes, “water is life”, and many expressed optimism that they are going to have a better life due to the availability of water.
by Natasha Justin