A fresh disease outbreak is looming in Gweru, as the city has gone for two days without potable water, leaving residents resorting to unsafe water supplies such as condemned boreholes.
Since Tuesday evening last week, the city taps ran dry in all suburbs, amid indications that the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and council were accusing each other for the dry taps.
Sources said the local authority accused Zesa of failing to attend to an electrical fault which resulted in council failing to pump water, while, on the other hand, the power utility company blamed council for malfunctioning water pumping equipment.
Gweru spokesperson Mr Manfred Gambiza said he was in the dark as to the exact cause of the dry taps.
“Right now there is pointing of fingers between council and Zesa,” he said.
“Zesa is saying our water pumping equipment are not functioning, while our engineers are saying our equipment is working perfectly.
“We have tasked our engineers to go to the site and confirm the exact cause of the dry taps. I will get back to you as soon as I get the correct position.”
The few boreholes drilled, especially in Mkoba suburbs, were overwhelmed by residents as long, winding queues were the order of the day.
As a result, some residents turned to unsafe water sources.
“But we have no choice since we have no alternative source. Others are resorting to unprotected water sources which are dangerous because we have just had a typhoid outbreak.”
The water cuts are coming at a time when Town Clerk Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza said cases of suspected typhoid have been contained.
The outbreak, which began at the beginning of the month, claimed eight lives and left over 2 000 others treated of the same disease as of Thursday last week.
Ms Gwatipedza said: “I’m glad to note that the cases of typhoid have been contained in Gweru following the intervention by the Government and other stakeholders.”
Last week, Midlands provincial medical director Dr Simon Nyadundu said typhoid cases had gone down to an average of 29 new cases a day from an average of about 100 cases reported in previous weeks.
Council has re-advertised a tender for the supply of a fourth water pump for Gwenhoro Dam in order to pump in excess of 60 megalitres of water a day for the growing population.