Kwekwe City Council has attributed the frequent water supply disruptions occurring in the city to a shortage of manpower, amid an increasing workload due to the expanding settlements.
The limited manpower is failing to cope with the constant water pipe bursts and breakdowns at the water treatment and pump station, according to Councilor Pikurai Msipa, the Deputy Mayor, who was addressing residents during the commissioning of a borehole in Amaveni suburb.
“We have the manpower that we have been having for a long time and actually it is dwindling as some have retired while some died and others went to seek greener pastures. This means the manpower we are left with is very limited and we are actually doing what is called firefighting,” Msipa said.
He added that the pipes that carry water from the pump station are experiencing frequent bursts and the workers have to constantly attend to these bursts. Msipa also said the water infrastructure and manpower deficit were being worsened by the expansion of housing settlements in the city.
“The problem of water that we have is not because councillors are failing to do their job, but the city is growing. What has happened to our home (city) is that back then we only had Mbizo and Amaveni (residential suburbs) without the extensions that are now there.”
Some of the residential suburb extensions include Mbizo 15, 19, 21, and 22.
Msipa said: “I was actually thinking, before I engage my counterparts, that if we go to council and see if we can request for some of the manpower there to be temporarily reassigned to the water department so that we can fill in some gaps there and get more work done.”
The Ward 3 councillor blamed haulage trucks delivering raw materials to local mining company ZIMASCO for damaging underground water pipes through vibrations.
“At the ZIMASCO area we have a water pipe burst nearly every week because the loaded trucks when they are idling, they cause underground pipes to crack from the vibrations. When this happens residents start reporting that there is a water pipe burst, but then that would be treated water being lost.”