BULAWAYO, Friday, August 23, 1991 — The future of Mvuma, situated in central estates 80km east of Gweru, looks bleak as the town’s only source of water is fast running out and is now unable to sustain the town’s population of 14 000 people.
The water is now being rationed with taps being opened for four hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon and another four hours in the evening. But despite these measures only a trickle of water comes out of the taps.
The residents rely on two communal taps in lowlying areas of the suburbs which have more pressure where they collect water in containers for use until the taps are opened again.
This poses a serious health hazard for the residents as toilets have to be flushed using buckets at times.
The chairman of the Charter Rural District Council, Mrs Jane Hallias, said the town was now relying on three boreholes while Athens Gold Mine, in the town, was sinking a fourth borehole to augment the town’s water supply.
The business community expressed concern over the deterioration of the water situation, expressing fears that they could be forced to close down if there was no improvement.
“Mvuma has a small dam on the outskirts of the town which dried up in three months because of the phenomenal growth in population,’’ said Mrs Hallias.
She said the dam had been built to cater for a community of about 3 000 people when Mvuma was Rhodesia’s second largest town after Fort Victoria in the early colonial days.
Mrs Hallias said the dam had then been scooped every year until 1945. Over the years the dam had silted because farmers grazed their cattle in the catchment area of Mtao Forest while others diverted the water to their farms for irrigation. She said the council scooped the dam last year but there had not been enough rains to fill it up.