Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo is currently facing a health crisis as 13 lives have been lost while a thousand have been affected by diarrhea, typhoid and dysentery.
These diseases have been attributed to water contamination due to pipes and other equipment that has outlived lifespan. The authority responsible for water distribution in Bulawayo, Bulawayo City Council have noted that the council does not currently have the capacity to mitigate or provide a lasting solution to the problem due to lack of rehabilitation funds.
The main areas of concern that can mitigate the contamination and the effects associated with these ancient diseases is the sewer and waterworks.
According to the Bulawayo City Council budget, US$1 482 000 is urgently required to address water contamination problems in the affected areas of Bulawayo.
Town clerk Christopher Dube said they have come up with a figure for the sewer and waterworks rehabilitation programme, but do not have the funds to their disposal for the execution of the rehabilitation programme.
“We don’t have the money. Some of the materials have to be imported, that is why we quoted the figure in United States dollars because it does not fluctuate,” said Dude.
The targeted projects include rehabilitation of the outfall sewer line (US$1,2 million), repair of all water and sewer service connections (US$250 000), pipe laying and replacement (US$25 000), repair of the reclaimed line (US$5 000) and pipes and fittings (US$2 000).
“We have a mandate to carry out this work as the council. The project has to be done, but the sad reality is that there is no money,” highlighted Dube.
some of the major causes to the incapacitation in implementing sewer and water works rehabilitation programme has been attributed to the souring inflation and reneging of residents in paying their rates on time.
According to the latest financial figures the council is owed $383 519 064 by ratepayers, as Government departments owe council $17 440 652, industrial and commercial debtors $136 637 286, parastatals $10 304 153 and residents $219 136 973.
“Payments to the council are erratic. People are not paying their rates and again, inflation is rising at an alarming rate. However, the money has to be found. We have to do it, that is why we are here as a council,” added Dube.
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News Correspondent- Zimbabwe