Masvingo rural communities have been dogged by serious water shortages, leaving villagers and livestock in dire straits, due to malfunctioning of many boreholes with a few functioning boreholes and other water sources ran dry as a result of the induced drought, which hit the country this year. Speaking during at a community development meeting facilitated by Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) in Chineka village under chief Murinye, the Masvingo Central constituency ward 16 councilor Mr Edmore Dhemba expressed that the water situation in his ward is extremely excruciating. The councilor concurs with COTRAD peace club member’s community survey report which states that, 12 boreholes in ward 16 are currently malfunctioning. The community members expressed that the water problems bedeviling their area is caused by malfunctioning of many boreholes due to lack of maintenance by the Masvingo Rural District Council and some no longer reach the water table because of continuous drought in the area. The perennial water shortages is mostly affects women and young children as it burdens them with extra task of travelling long distances to fetch elusive commodity. The situation is reportedly dire in some villages, with most families fetching water from unprotected sources. “The situation is pathetic, we have serious water problems in many of our villages, and people have no choice but to go to other villages and wards to fetch water, while some villagers are now relying on Mutirikwi River for home use and to water their livestock”, said one villager.
The community members expressed that they have approached the Rural District Council and other responsible authorities countless times over the years requesting them to drill more boreholes, maintain and drill further those longer reaching the water table as well as to establish other alternative water points, however nothing has been done to improve access to clean and safe water. Access to clean and safe water is a constitutional right as enshrined in section 77 that, every person has the right to clean and safe water. COTRAD call upon the Masvingo Rural District Council (RDC) and public officials to respond to the social service delivery and infrastructure development concerns raised by the residents. The RDC should prioritize and attempt to improve accessibility of clean and safe water in the district.