Desperate residents in Bulawayo have broken into main water pipes in search of the precious liquid after going over 13 days without running water.
The opened holes are not only a threat to human life, but pose a risk of contaminating the city’s potable water as dirty containers are used to fetch from the pipes.
In an interview with ZBC News, residents said their locations are mostly dominated by poor tenants who cannot afford drilling boreholes in their homes.
“This is the third day since we started fetching water from this hole. At times, we make orderly queues or vigorously push to the front of the hole. We use this water to drink and do household chores as you know in our area, we have gone for two weeks without water,” said one of the residents.
Asked on the issue of safety, the trespassers admitted that they are likely to pay high repercussions for breaking down the infrastructure, but explained that they do so out of desperation.
“Yesterday a child fell into the hole and luckily, we were there to rescue her on time. We use this water to drink and some people use dirty containers, thereby putting everyone at risk of contracting cholera,” said another resident.
Efforts to get a comment from Bulawayo City Council were fruitless as officials were held up in a meeting.
The on-going refurbishments and low water pumping levels at the city’s reservoir has seen water shedding being extended to an unspecified time.