In the face of increasing water shortages, some Gweru residents are resorting to digging wells in their backyards using the water for drinking and other domestic purposes.
Fifty-five year-old Fungai Chapanduka is a resident of Gweru’s Mkoba 16 high density suburb. The area along with the other high density suburbs of Mkoba 14, 17, 18 and 19 has been hard hit by water woes as they are located on high ground.
With the drying up of Gwenoro Dam, Gweru’s main water source, it is now difficult for the council to pump water to such suburbs.
Despite the crisis, Mrs. Chapanduka has a small but thriving vegetable garden, thanks to water drawn from a well that she has dug in her backyard.
Chpanduka, who used to get water from council boreholes, said most of these watering points are always congested. This has forced her to dig a well in her yard.
"I am now able to grow vegetables using water from the well. We buying vegetables from the market but that’s no longer the case," said Chapanduka.
Mrs. Chapanduka said her well is helping her neighbours and other residents from the nearby suburb of Mkoba 15 suburb.
The Gweru City Council has in the past drilled boreholes in various places across the city, but most of them have broken down, leaving residents to rely on few that are still operating.
A resident of Mkoba 17 who only identified herself as Mrs. Wilbert said although she has no well at her home for her domestic requirements, she largely depends on her neighbour’s drinking hole.
"The problem of water shortage is a critical one. I got this water that I’m using for washing from a neighbour who dug a well at his home. We are facing a serious problem because of water shortages," said Wilbert.
Lovemore Zigara, a freelance journalist living in Mkoba 18, agreed saying the problem of water unavailability is getting worse. He is also digging a well at his home.
Besides pumping water from the smaller Amapongokwe and Whitewaters dams, the Gweru City Council is also installing two additional pumps at Gwenoro Dam so that it can increase the system’s pumping capacity when the dam fills up again.
Programs Coordinator Davison Mduba of the Gweru United Residents Association said council should act quickly on the water problem so as to avert a health crisis.
Town Clerk Daniel Matawu confirmed that the local authority recently secured funds to drill more boreholes in the city’s residential areas starting with the most affected.
Like other cities across the country, Gweru has been facing water shortages because of drought as well as low pumping capacity due to a lack of funds.