By Takudzwa Mangachena,
Zengeza 2- Residents of Chitungwiza have been urged to practice efficient use of water as it is increasingly becoming a scarce commodity in Chitungwiza.
This was said during a two-day workshop on Water and Sanitation Health (WASH) conducted at CCPA church by Youth Agenda Trust (YAT). YAT’s Gender Responsive Public Services Inspirator, Joan Otengo, said that residents should use water in an economically sustainable manner and also in a way that it can be saved for future use.
“In as much as water is continuously becoming scarce, people can recycle the water they use every day by using the same water a multiple times. For example, one can use the same water she or he would have used for laundry to mope floors in the home,” said Otengo.
“People can also harvest water from the roof tops of their houses and use it for domestic purposes, and in this way water will not go to waste.”
However, she discouraged drinking water harvested from asbestos-constructed roof tops saying that it could put consumers at a risk of asbestosis (a disease which affects the lungs and is caused by particles that make up asbestos).
Residents were also discouraged from digging up wells in close proximity as this can seriously affect the water table where these wells would have to compete and share their supply of water which may actually lead to shortage of water instead of curbing the water crisis.
Some residents pointed out that initiating the use of pre-paid meters could also help solve their water problem for most people will be inclined to save water by not using more than they can afford.
Otengo outlined the importance of water saying it is global, and thus everyone needs water in their lives, and by contextualizing it into socio-cultural, environmental and economical perspectives. She added that that water is an important arm of the WASH initiative for when one talks about water she or he should also consider sanitation and hygiene factors.
Residents at the workshop pointed out, the availability of water can influence sanitation and hygiene factors either positively or negatively with usually erratic water availability and limited access impacting negatively and vice-versa.
Residents are of the view that limited access to water and the long distances some people have to walk to fetch water is leading residents to resort to using nearby shallow wells and other unprotected water sources which in turn puts residents at risk of contracting water borne diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid.
“An insufficient and inconsistent water supply is also affecting us socially and economically. There are some residents who have babies, but are financially unstable and they are forced to resort to using disposable diapers which they cannot afford, because they do not have a consistent supply of water to wash washable diapers thus putting a financial strain on these households. Moreover because of the erratic refuse collection, some people are disposing off used diapers in the streets which is not sanitary and hygienic at all.”
“We need our council to help us with more alternative water sources like more boreholes because the ones already available are mostly congested and not everyone can access water from them. Some are even very far from our houses and we cannot afford to walk the long distances everyday carrying large amounts of water. It is putting a strain on our physical well being,” said Tatenda Choto (23) of Unit L.
“More time spent trying to access water impedes development as people will focus more time and energy on water while economic exploits and development ideas as well as active participation in decision making processes suffer,” said Otengo.