The water situation is most parts of Matabeleland South is now critical with villagers forced to source water for domestic use from unprotected water sources.
One such area is Nswazwi village in Plumtree where villagers are forced to fetch water from Nswazwi dam which they share with both wild and domestic animals.
CITE visited the dam and spoke to villagers who blamed the government’s lack of commitment in providing them with safer and cleaner water sources for the water problems bedevilling the area.
“This year there were no rains which forced us to fetch water from this dam. As you can see our animals also drink here,” said a villager who identified himself as Khupe.
“We once had piped water but the engine stopped working more than 10 years ago, the government has not yet done anything to help us.”
Villagers said they are prone to water-borne diseases since they drink dirty water.
“The water has a lot of impurities but we do not have any alternative. We boil the water before using it but that does not give us a guarantee that the water is safe,” said another villager, Sibonile Dube who was fetching water from the dam.
In order to access cleaner water, the villagers are forced to travel about 12 kilometres to Maitengwe river.
“River water is clearer but doesn’t mean it’s better than using dam water,” lamented Dube.
Villagers lamented that the dam may dry up around September if it does not rain.
“This dam was dug during the colonial era and it has not yet been rehabilitated ever since. This means it no longer holds enough water. If this drought persists, we would not have water after September,” said Dube.
Villagers urged the government to urgently resuscitate the water engine which they used to access clean water.