Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THE Victoria Falls Municipality has bought a 20 000-litre water bowser for civil protection services and to supply residents during times of crisis.
Victoria Falls has a perennial water problem especially during the hot season when water levels will be low at the pump station on the Zambezi River.
Water shortages are also compounded by lack of reservoirs in Mkhosana high density suburb where pumping is done directly from the pump station to residents hence creating distribution problems.
Some sections of Mkhosana and Chinotimba have been without water for the past week as the municipality has been struggling with supplies due to an electric fault at the pump station.
The two high density suburbs are the worst affected while the low density and central business district where hotels and lodges are located have not been affected.
Residents however feel the municipality should take water management rights from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) as a lasting solution to the perennial water challenges.
Zinwa pumps raw water to the municipality which, in turn, treats and distributes it to users.
The municipality’s public relations and economic development officer Mr Ngqabutho Moyo blamed the crisis on Zinwa.
“Our water situation in the past few days has been very difficult. The problem is imported as it is to do with an electrical fault at the Zinwa abstraction point at the Zambezi River,” said Mr Moyo.
He said the situation had affected the council’s water supply chain.
Mr Moyo said the new bowser could be used to supply residents during critical moments.
“We have bought a 20 000-litre Sino truck water bowser for $2 006 962. The bowser will be used for various purposes chief among them in the civil works.
“This is part of the equipment which we believe will help us improve our service delivery to the community. From time to time it will be used to ferry water in cases of emergency and to supply residents in various areas,” said Mr Moyo.
Victoria Falls Combined Residents Association chair Mr Kelvin Moyo called for a permanent solution.
“We need a tripartite meeting with council and Zinwa to find a lasting solution to the water challenges. Our position in terms of the solution is that water rights should be given to the local authority.
“We want to guard against situations where the two institutions will be throwing the ball at each other. If council can be in charge of water rights, they will not have an excuse not to provide water.
“Council should have the responsibility of letting the residents know what’s going on so that they can prepare. That should be the short term solution.
“Now that the council has a bowser, they should be in a position to supply those sections with no water ,” said Mr Moyo.
Contributing during budget formulation meetings recently, residents implored the municipality to urgently construct water reservoirs to permanently address the perennial water challenges.
The municipality has been failing to implement the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) project since its inception in 2014 because of lack of funding.
The local authority has said it needs about US$8 million for the first phase of the Wash project which will include upgrading the water system and duplicating the existing piping to be able to address challenges.
The residents said the Wash programme is long overdue and needs to be prioritised.
Zinwa spokesperson Mrs Marjorie Munyonga could not be reached for comment on her mobile phone. — @ncubeleon