One of the basic human rights in our constitution is access to clean, safe and portable water. Against this background citizens have a right to quiz the government, through the local authorities, if this right is being enjoyed. In rural areas, this service is provided through boreholes that are scattered across the breath and with of wards. The SilentVoice got so worried about the number of broken boreholes to the extent that a research on the adequacy of water in Ward 8 of Bikita Rural District Council.
By SilentVoice WaTsvetai
According to World Health Organization specifications, one borehole should serve 250 dwellers. Ward 8 has a population of approximately seven thousand citizens sharing water drawn from around 23 boreholes. Of these, nine are broken down while about seven are dry during this spring, effectively making seven boreholes available to the citizens. A population of seven thousand should be served by at least 28 boreholes. The seven boreholes can serve only one seventh of the population leaving around 5250 people without water, a very dire situation that sees the only available boreholes overcrowded, had it not been the efforts by citizens to draw their own water for their upkeep.
Asked on the state of availability of water, the Councillor, Mr Nathan Zeya, attributed the broken boreholes to depth, theft of borehole parts, age of boreholes and lack of service. “Some of these boreholes dry up because they are shallow. The depth of around 60 meters assures a consistent yield of water for the borehole not to dry up in spring, in Geographical Region 5,” said the Councillor.
The District Development Fund which should service these boreholes is financially dry. The District Development Coordinator, Mr Hadzirabwi alluded to the financial crises the DDF finds itself in. “Our services are usually funded by aid. It now depends on what funds we get. At times we get funds for repairs, for drilling boreholes and/or maintenance. So our attendance to the plight of boreholes depends on the purpose of funds we come across. As a district, we are financially dry.”
The MP, Mr Josiah Sithole said, “The situation is bad. That is the reason why we end up requesting locals to contribute towards the purchase of leather-shoes which are normally the cause of the breakdowns. Each pair of leather-shoes costs US$65.
Mr Nhidza Watson, the DDF engineer commended that, “It’s unfortunate that the maintenance requires movement of which we cannot go down to the villages on our pockets and spend the whole day on empty stomachs. We can only carry out the maintenance when we are given the requisite equipment and our food and subsistence allowances.”
Mr Morgen Madhura, Executive Officer: Social Services with Bikita Rural District Council attributed all the maintenance of boreholes to the DDF. “The Council repairs boreholes through the DDF funds which are currently unavailable.”
This situation has caused many women to walk very long distances to do their laundry in Mukore River. In addition, no subsistence garden is possible making the situation dire for poor families. The government is therefore implored to take brisk action to correct this situation, especially during this COVID-19 period where water is more than needed for optimum cleanliness.