The Sunday News
Faith Chapuza and Lister Mlotshwa, Sunday News Reporters
THE Roman Catholic Church in Pumula South, Bulawayo is selling water to desperate residents in the suburb, some who are now sleeping at the few boreholes in the area.
Bulawayo is facing one of its worst water crises in years that has seen council failing to supply water in some suburbs at all. In Pumula South, the church which has a borehole is now selling the precious liquid for $6 per 20 litre bucket.
Some women who do not have the money are now resorting to sleeping at boreholes in order to get water.
The suburb has a limited number boreholes which are struggling to service the increasing number of residents.
A member of the parish council of Catholic Church Branch in Pumula, Mr Stanley Goredema said the church was charging for the water so that it could raise money to buy electricity which is used to pump the water source.
“We have a pressure pump which uses electricity to pump water of which we charge people $6 per bucket not for water but for electricity charges,” said Mr Goredema.
Residents told Sunday News that sometimes they sleep in queues at boreholes to get the water. Mrs Lindiwe Ncube said the only way to get water was to ensure that you sleep in the queue.
“We sleep at the borehole because during the day water stops coming out as it would be too hot. The only time to get water is during night time. Some people come to join the queues at 6pm and will only get a chance to draw as late as 3am,” she said.
Another resident Mr Brandon Maphosa said there was a need for the city council and the Government to drill more boreholes in the area.
“The boreholes are not enough and cannot meet the demands of the residents. We kindly appeal to the Government to drill more boreholes here,” he said.
The residents said one woman was mugged recently while on her way to queue at the borehole.
Meanwhile, some of the residents in Pumula East and North have resorted to digging wells alongside wetlands and sewage stream to get water.
The residents have dug holes commonly referred as “Emagodini” along Phekiwe stream to draw the water for drinking. Pumula Residents Association committee member Mr Thamsanqa Moyo said residents were worried that this could result in the outbreak of water-borne diseases.
“While residents might not use the water for drinking, chances are that some containers might be contaminated and lead to an outbreak. These are the same containers we use to get water from bowsers,” he said.