By Jussa Kudherezera
Zimunya Township has been facing a water crisis. A water right is a necessity in everyone’s life. Clean fresh water is important for drinking, sanitation, and sustaining the ecosystems on which all life depends. Shortage of water has many social, economic, and environmental impacts. Some of them include illness, disease, death, and biodiversity loss.
According to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, amendment number 20 of 2013 chapter 4 section 77 (a) states that “every person has the right to safe, clean and potable water “, hence every citizen should have access to clean water. Water is a must-have in every community and if residents don’t have access to it, it will harm their health life. However, even though it’s every citizen’s right to have access to water, the Mutare rural district council is failing due to several reasons such as a lack of water infrastructure.
The severe and current water crisis in Zimunya has been pushing a lot of the residents to dig unsafe boreholes. There is a shortage of functional boreholes in Zimunya, whereas only one borehole is functioning in the area and this impact negatively. The lack of functional Boreholes limits access to safe water for drinking and for practicing good hygiene at home and in schools. There is inadequate sanitation as there is only 1 borehole functioning. This also becomes a serious threat to the community and sustainable development. Every human being goes hand in hand with water thus if there’s a shortage of it becomes a big problem for the community.
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) which has the role of providing water to the residents in Zimunya is failing due to population increase, debts from the rural council and migration happening in Zimunya. Residents in nearby communities are moving from places like Sakubva, Dangamvura and Chikanga running away from high rentals from these suburbs.
Debts between the local authority and ZINWA are also one of the causes of the water crisis in Zimunya. ZINWA owed money by the Mutare rural council could not supply water to the community due to that debt. This posed to be a great burden to the local authorities as they could not pay the debt and the residents suffered as there was no water supply.
The scarcity of water chemicals is also leading to the water crisis in Zimunya. Some residents who have taps do not get water due to chemicals as the suppliers (ZINWA) would say they cannot supply water as they do not have chemicals. This leads to diseases as people will be left with no choice but to go and fetch water in streams nearby.
Shortage of water infrastructure leads to inequalities in access to water. Water infrastructure in Zimunya needs to be addressed before 2025 as we want to attain the sustainable development goals and also the National Development Strategy1 (NDS1) In line with the government aims to provide potable water for all by 2023. Sustainable Development Goal number 6 emphasizes ensuring access to water and sanitation for all. Access to safe water and sanitation is the most basic human need for all hence progress should quadruple for people to have access to these basic services.
Insufficient supply has also led to the water crisis in Zimunya. According to the Zimbabwe national water project written for Zimunya in 2015, it stated that Zimunya water supply station is facing huge challenges in providing sufficient water for the community. Currently, the demand for water in the area is outweighing the supply. It also stipulated that there are areas that go without water for long periods and the situation is worse when there is no power due to electricity load-shedding schedules.
In conclusion, the rural district council should improve service delivery regarding the Zimunya community. The water crisis is a threat to human life and it is an issue of an emergency. Every citizen has the right to water supply as written in the constitution thus all citizens should have access to it. Citizens should not have long periods without being supplied water in their area whilst they will be paying their money religiously. Hence water crisis should be solved.
- In terms of boreholes, the rural district council should drill boreholes that use solar systems. This will help as residents will have access to water. This will reduce the poor supply of water and all residents will have access to it. Modern standards simplify things and if residents have solar-powered boreholes and non-solar-powered boreholes it will help as the boreholes will not die frequently.
- Water channels should be increased so that residents will have access to water. This will reduce the spread of diseases as residents will not have to go to fetch water in streams nearby. Increasing water channels means an increase in good sanitation and a good supply of water which is essential as it provides good health. New taps and new pipes should be constructed to lessen the burdens of the water crisis in the area.