MASVINGO – Masvingo has gone for six days without water amid reports that water levels in Lake Mutirikwi have dropped to critical levels.
While Hubert Fidze, the Masvingo mayor, moved to allay the fears saying supplies will be restored soon, residents expressed alarm at the untenable situation.
There are fears the water crisis could spark a serious disease outbreak as residents are now opting to use the nearby bushes and streets to relieve themselves.
Fidze said the water shortage was a result of a power problem.
“The situation is not bad at all, the water shortage was not caused by the drop of water levels in the dam but it is a power fault which is currently being attended to by Zesa and water will be restored to the city in the next 48 hours,” the mayor said.
He confirmed that water level in Mutirikwi had reached critical levels.
“The water levels are at a critical low level of 7 percent and if we do not get rains soon we might have problems of water shortages,” Fidze said.
“But the city is more than prepared if we come to that point. The city has reserve boreholes where water can be pumped and these were drilled during the severe 1992 drought.”
But Tapiwa Tazvivinga, a city resident, said the boreholes were last used in 1992 and might not meet the cuurent demand given the population growth.
He expressed fear that their children could contract water-borne diseases such as cholera.
“We are finding it difficult even to have water to bath our children when they go to school or even water to drink and prepare food,” Tazvivinga said. “This could result in diseases like cholera breaking out.”
According to council officials from the engineering department, the water levels at Mutirikwi were now critically low and water must stop being pumped when the levels reach 4 percent.
The most affected residential areas are Mucheke, Majange, Runyararo West, Pangolin and Rujeko high density suburbs.