Access to clean and reliable sources of water links to poverty and poverty reduction. Poor communities are prone to water quantity and quality issues. During the 2008 Cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe, low-income communities got most affected.
“Lack of access to safe and adequate water supplies contributes to ongoing poverty both through the economic costs of poor health and in the high proportion of household expenditure on water supplies in many poor communities, arising from the need to purchase water and/or time and energy expended in the collection. Access to water services forms a key component in the UNDP Human Poverty Index for developing countries (UNDP, 1999).”Guy Howard et al
How the rich survive
In the suburbs, there is access to essentials services such as water. Private businesses and individuals always step up and cover the gap. That requires money which the urban poor do not have access to. Commercial bulk water, a thriving business in the country. 5000 liters of water sells for $5.00 in Domboshava and it retails for $40-$50. In upmarket suburbs, the wealthy make up the bulk of the clientele for bulk water companies.
Access to Water and Poverty
Located 12 kilometers to the southeastern side of Harare, Epworth is unplanned and lacks basic infrastructure and social amenities. Less than a third of it’s close to 152 000 residents has piped water. Residents say that they get running water once a week from the city of Harare.
Shallow wells have dried out due to the Elnino induced back to back droughts. Lot sizes in some areas in Epworth are too small for everyone to have a well and a pit latrine. This scenario results in the contamination of water from the wells by fecal matter.
A disused quarry dam is proving water to a lot of people in Epworth. When DrynDirty visited the site in November 2020, it was a hive of activity. Women, Men, Children could visit the dam for water, and others doing their laundry. The water levels in the quarry dam had receded. People to walk on the dry ground up until the very middle of the dam before a deep and calm vast pool of water.
The pool death gets used for various purposes, said Ranga who spends his time at the dam rescuing those who fall in. He also sells buckets of water to those who are less daring to get in for themselves.
A shallow well was dug on the edge of the dam where people fetch water for domestic purposes. “People drink this water, they use pills that are being donated. They have no choice some even come from as far Chitungwiza to get water in bulk from here. Some companies reportedly using the water to make Maheu and other beverages. Can you imagine Maheu is being made using this water by some companies said, Ranga. He also implored authorities to send water browsers which he said were not reaching the dam area.
Hopes pinned on Regularisation
Access to basic water and sanitation services will be realized when regularisation is implemented. Provision of services is very difficult owing to corruption and the nonavailability of funds. Poor communities like Epworth will continue to suffer especially when climatically induced water scarcity worsens.