Simbarashe Fenton M
Redcliff Town Council has been advised to opt for boreholes as an alternative water source in order to solve the water scarcity facing the town.
Residents who have gone up to three months without water, believe that the council should face reality and realise their failure in providing water to the community. Residents are of the view that the council should resort to borehole water or prepaid water system.
“Boreholes are supplementing water supply in large cities like Bulawayo. Therefore, Redcliff can get some of its water supply from underground water. We know that there are some arguments from other quarters that underground water is temporal, however that underground water is better as compared to nothing, if there is no adequate money for bigger projects. We need to drill 40-60 boreholes to supply the town with water and they should be 100 meters plus deep,” echoed Mabhena, a resident who was speaking during deliberations on the issue in the WhatsApp Redcliff Mayor’s Forum platform.
“On this water issue the council is lying to hide behind a finger, we are paying rates every month and a lot of people re paying but this year we have received water one day for less than an hour,” argued another resident.
Without a permanent water source and owing Kwekwe City over rtgs$70 million, the town council has for the past few months conducted a water closing blitz in an effort to encourage residents to reduce their debts for continued supply from Kwekwe.
Residents however exonerate failure to pay dues as the main reason for the long standing service delivery crisis but blame lack of competent leadership with those at the helm of management and council business seem to have diverging objectives.
“It is pathetic to have a leadership that blames the people for its failures! The reason why everyone is not in the council is because we entrusted you with those offices and responsibilities on our behalf, believed you could bring the required services to us.
“We thought our leadership will be innovative but alas, they blame us for ‘sabotaging’ water bill payments. Is it not their role to enforce bill payment? What we are experiencing is not necessarily a water crisis but a leadership crisis because you cannot be succeeding each other for five years and doing nothing while the town drowns in crisis, we need to come up with a permanent solution and I am buying very much the borehole alternative suggested here,” said another resident identified as Shylate Maposa.
Residents now resort to shallow sewer infested water streams, unprotected wells, boreholes as an alternative to the water problems facing the town. This might lead to diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
Former Redcliff Deputy Mayor Bernard Zimbowa advised that the town council should find imminent solution to be its own water authority and desist from relying on Kwekwe City.
“My contribution on water in Redcliff is for the council to be the water authority. This should be a permanent solution. We can demonstrate wave placards, engage relevant ministry but that will not get us anyway. Remember Redcliff started as Town Board without anything of its own but mostly relying on Kwekwe, no infrastructure you can think of. That was the beginning of the problem we are faced with today let us desist from blaming each other,” he said.
According to the town Mayor Cllr Clayton Masiyatsva, the failure to pay bills by those who owe the council has detrimental effect on water supply since 20 % of the residents are paying their bills while 80% continue to use water they do not pay for.
“It is a noble idea, we will delibarate it (proposed borehole alternative) as council and come back to you,” said Cllr Masiyatsva.
Some have blamed the resident associations, Torwood Redcliff Rutendo Residents Association(TORRA) and Greater Redcliff Residents Association(GRA) for its incompetence which has worsened the communication issue because there is lack of a unified front to engage with council due to diverging political standpoints hence it has been difficult to map a way foward.