The Bulawayo City Council’s (BCC) capacity to curb the spread of the coronavirus is being affected by water shortages amid reports that only 34.21% of water remains in council’s dams.
The city has so far decommissioned two of its six dams, Upper Ncema and Umzingwane.
Washing of hands with running water and soap is one of the global recommended practices in combating and preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
However, a Bulawayo resident, Millicent Ndlovu, said she was worried about the implications of persistent water shortages in the city following the outbreak of coronavirus.
“I am afraid that if the water situation in Bulawayo is not addressed, people will not be able to access water to wash their hands as a prevention measure to coronavirus,” she said.
“Some residents in the western suburbs access water for only three days a week because of stringent water shedding schedule which the city has put in place.”
Ndlovu asked the government to come up with a lasting solution to the city’s water woes and save lives in light of the deadly global outbreak.
The Director of the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH), Itayi Rusike, whose organisation advocates for the improvement of the public health system said the water shortages in urban areas was a threat in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are generally worried. Most of the people in urban areas may have taps but when they open the water does not come out. So even when you tell people that they have to wash their hands with water and soap where do they get the water from?” asked Rusike.
Former deputy health minister and specialist physician Edwin Muguti, went on to concur with Rusike.
“Water has been a problem already without the coronavirus. We have had water issues and water borne diseases like cholera in the past and this latest crisis should serve as a reminder that proper measures have to be taken to ensure that there is adequate clean water supplies for all citizens every the time,” he said.
Secretary of Health in the MDC, Henry Madzorera said the government should provide sanitisers and other water treatment chemicals to citizens to fight the virus.
“We urge our government to distribute sanitisers throughout the nation like we did during the cholera outbreak. Government should also procure water treatment chemicals,” said the former health minister.