HomeCommunity NewsHarare’s water woes change the fortunes of well-diggers

Harare’s water woes change the fortunes of well-diggers

BUSINESS is brisk for some youths in Glen View and Budiriro, who are into the digging of wells as the water woes continue to force residents to seek alternative sources of the precious liquid.

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA

The Harare City Council is battling to provide potable water due to the shortage of treatment chemicals and old pipes, forcing many residents to scrounge for the liquid from unprotected sources.

Scores of youths in several high-density suburbs have taken advantage of the situation and are now earning a living from digging wells for interested residents.

A survey by Standardcommunity revealed that makeshift posters and billboards of youth advertising their prowess in digging wells were now a common phenomenon in most parts of Glen view and Budiriro suburbs.

The youths are charging up to US$150 to dig a 10m-deep well. In Chitungwiza some of the youths were charging up to US$250 for the same job.

“This is how we are now surviving since the water woes began. We dig wells for people,” said Panganai Hondoyachepa who stays in Glen View.
Another well-digger, Moses Shungu of Budiriro said the youths dug up to 10 wells every month.

Residents from Budiriro and Glen View said they had no alternative but to dig their own wells, as council was failing to provide them with regular water supplies.

“Our taps have been dry for a longtime now. Wells are the only solution. Some people are even selling well water,” said Getrude Chiriseri from Budiriro.

She said the boreholes drilled by Unicef at the height of the cholera crisis in 2008 always had long queues of people seeking water.

Another resident Munyaradzi Makuwe from Glen View said because of fear of diseases, most residents were now resorting to boiling water from the wells before drinking it.

Harare City Council health director Prosper Chonzi said the council could not enforce by-laws forbidding the digging of wells as the local authority was itself failing to provide residents with clean water.

“It would look as if the council has turned a blind eye to the situation,” he said. “But it is powerless to take action. Well drilling needs to be certified by council to ensure that the well is properly sited and does not deprive other residents of underground water. Residents who dig wells and sink boreholes without council approval are supposed to be fined.”

Finance committee chairperson Friday Muleya recently said council had no money to fix burst water pipes resulting in residents going for days without water.

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