Masvingo community water points vulnerable to theft and vandalism

by | Aug 6, 2021 | Local News | 0 comments

• As council sporadic water supplies continue

Brian Rungano Temba

Chesvingo residents have voiced their concerns over the theft of community water point tapes and solar pump equipment.

The outcry came from residents who’s domestic water supply has been cut off due to outstanding debts and now solely rely on the water point.

The residents sighted that the water point has no structural security for the equipment that is worth thousands in US dollars.

“There is no fence to keep out thieves from stealing the tapes, solar panels, water tanks or water pump.

Especially with the curfews anyone can act like they are fetching water and go away with the tapes,” said on resident.

“Not too long ago, another water point with a similar set up in ward 3 was robbed of all their tape during the night which caused a lot of pressure for the much sought for liquid at our water point,” he added.

The ward 4 water point next to Mucheke Old People’s Home serves over 500 households from Chesvingo alone.

The convinience of six 300 watt Solar pannels, six 5000 litee tanks, sumissible pump and eight tapes draws even more people from as far as Runyararo West, Majange and Hillside.

This feature sets the Ward 4 and Ward 3 community water points apart from all the other 30 manual boreholes in Masvingo Urban.

Both water points were upgraded by Christian Care in conjuction with the Government of Zimbabwe under a programme targeted at relieving the high density suburb residents during water shortages.

Volunteers from the Chesvingo community have take up the duty of being custodians of the equipment.

These volunteers have been growing vegetables in the Community Cooperative gardens since before the upgrades.

Kasongo Gondongwe, the chairlady of the Green Valley Community Cooperative garden told Tateguru TV that they were tasked by the donor to monitor the equipment as a committee.

“We were assigned the duty of making sure this investment does not get vandalised by the donors.

We then elected a pump minder for that duty and another male volunteer was then assigned the role of guarding the premise at night to avoid the situation that happened in ward 3,” said Mrs Gondongwe.

She explained that a monthly fee of $2 USD was then put for the residents with domestic water supply that was cut off by Masvingo City Council. The fee is then directed for repairs and allowances for the guarding volunteer.

“Solar powered water pump tech is prone to wear breaking down and not only do our gardens suffer, but so do the residents with cut off domestic water supply.

This arrangement was a reactionary decision by the water point committee after we received the report that the ward 3 water point tapes were stolen,” added Mrs Gondongwe.

Some members of the community who did not agree with the decision then took to the media name dropping members of the committee and their places of residence in protest of the arrangement.

“The garden was an abandoned urban farming project that had been turned into a dumpsite before we cleaned it up and started growing our vegetables,” said one of the farmers from the garden.

“The upgrade has served us all well as a community and it has made life easier for parents to access water with just tye turn of a tape nob as compared to the manual labour and single access point of the old set up.

If anything the residents with domestic water that has been cut off benefit most from the arrangement,” she added.

Chesvingo still receives erratic water supply from Masvingo City Council. The boreholes that residents resort to as alternatives were left behind after Urban farming projects by Action Farm.

The NGO dug boreholes in all wards of Masvingo Urban and fenced the gardens. Most of the boreholes broke down and fence were stolen out or vandalised.

Masvingo City Council has since repaired some of the boreholes using devolution funds.