Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has chided the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) for cutting water supplies for over 96 hours, a situation the association said was counterproductive in the fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Council last week announced that it was cutting water supplies for three days in all suburbs between Saturday and Monday at midnight to upgrade water and sewer reticulation systems under the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) project.
BCC announced that water supplies were supposed to be reconnected on Monday evening but only restored water supplies on Wednesday, a development which irked residents.
In a statement issued Wednesday, BPRA communications officer Kelebone Khabo noted that the disruption in water supplies is untimely as it prohibits residents from practising social distancing as they convene at community boreholes to draw water.
He implored BCC to reinstate water supply to the residents and called for the suspension of the BSSIWP until further notice.
“While some of the key messages around the preventative measures against COVID-19 has been the urging of people to wash their hands regularly with water and soap, it is unfortunate that Bulawayo residents have now gone for 5 days without water,” said Khabo.
“This comes after the Bulawayo City Council decided to go ahead with a water rehabilitation project which has resulted in the cutting of water supply to the residents of Bulawayo as from Saturday the 21st of March 2020 till today.”
Khabo added: “As (BPRA) we are deeply concerned by the stance taken by BCC to go ahead with the rehabilitation works in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and then failing to finish the rehabilitation works on time resulting in the residents of Bulawayo going for 5 days without water.
“On March 24, they released a statement and deceived residents into believing that they would have their water supply back by the end of the day. Areas such as Emakhandeni, Magwegwe, Cowdray Park and Entumbane which were cited as some of the first areas to have the water supply reinstated first have still not received any water,” said Khabo,
BPRA said instead of complying with social distancing and self-isolation regulations, residents have now been forced to leave their homes and gather around communal boreholes as they wait for their turn to fetch water thereby increasing their risk of coming into contact with the COVID-19 virus.