Bulawayo Residents Drinking Dirty, Smelly Tap Water
Dirty and smelly water coming from taps in Bulawayo’s Emganwini suburb has residents worried that another diarrhoeal disease outbreak may hit the area.
Two months ago, the high-density suburb recorded a third diarrhoea outbreak which affected 51 households.
In June last year, there was a diarrhoea outbreak in Luveve suburb, which killed 13 people and infected nearly 2 000.
Raw sewage had contaminated drinking water.
Last year in October about 100 people, mostly children, were treated for running tummies in Mzilikazi and surrounding suburbs.
The latest development comes at a time the country is battling Covid-19 which has killed millions worldwide.
Emganwini residents’ chairperson Mr Janana Ngwenya visited the Chronicle newsroom with a sample of the dirty water which residents have been consuming for about five months.
He said the local authority has not done anything to sort out the problem despite several reports from residents.
“Some months back we had a diarrhoea outbreak because of the dirty water supplied by the city council and the situation has not changed. The water is ‘black’ when you open a tap in the morning and sometimes it smells so much that we cannot wash our clothes, drink it or use it to bath,” said Mr Ngwenya.
Emganwini Residents Association chairman Mr Janana Ngwenya
He said the situation has become worse as some residents are already complaining of stomach ailments.
“It is unfortunate that we don’t have boreholes and we are forced to use the water despite the risks. For those who want to do their laundry, they have to wait until deposits in the water have settled, but it is a waste of time because it takes hours for the sediments to settle,” said Mr Ngwenya.
He said the council should find a permanent solution to the problem.
Mr Ngwenya appealed to the city council to do something about the dirty water, saying residents felt cheated since they pay bills.
A news crew visited the suburb on Tuesday and a disgruntled resident, Mrs Sithabile Ndlovu, said she feared that the dirty water could cause another wave of diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases.
She said the water smells like raw sewage and cannot be used to cook or wash.
“If this water was for free maybe we would not be complaining. The city council should do something about this situation because we are paying for this water every month.
“We do not have boreholes in our area. One which belonged to the community was sold with the land around it to someone who makes us pay if we want water. They have not been able to find water in another that is being drilled,” said Mrs Ndlovu.
She said during the Covid-19 period, there should be proper service delivery.
“The first regulation is to wash your hands regularly, with this smelly water how can we wash our hands and be safe from Covid-19 and other diseases,” said Mrs Ndlovu.
Another unhappy resident, Mrs Muchadei Mudiwa said the unsafe water affected her whole family to the point that her form 4 child could not go to school.
Ms Muchadei Mudiwa
“My children are complaining of stomach ailments because of the water. For the past month we did not get the bowser and we were forced to drink that sewer water, will it take deaths for city council to take us seriously?” she asked.
Mr Ngwenya called on council to take necessary measures to ensure that water used by residents is safe.
BCC corporate communication manager Mrs Nesisa Mpofu had not responded to questions sent to her on Wednesday, by the time of going to print.
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