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HomeFeatureA tale of two boreholes: Borehole water necessary to alleviate typhoid and cholera

A tale of two boreholes: Borehole water necessary to alleviate typhoid and cholera

Water molecules are gathered in a bucket of water from tap water, on the bottom layer is dirty substances depicting rust coming from the old water pipes exposing urban residents nationally to the menace of typhoid.

By Tendai Chisiri

Typhoid has been reported to be severe in high density suburbs of Highfield, Budiriro, Mbareand Glen Norah to mention but a few. Typhoid in urban areas is caused by drinking unclean water that is being delivered by the Harare City Council or other urban local governments which is exacerbated by the continuous drinking of tap water delivered through old water pipes.

Clean water is everyone’s right   according to the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.20) Chapter 4 Part 2, Section 77.It states that everyone has the right to safe and clean water, and the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures within the limits of the resources available.

Many boreholes which were drilled during the   2008 and 2009 cholera outbreak have malfunctioned leaving a glimpse of two worlds apart on a smaller scale. In Ward 29, Glen- Norah A, two boreholes portray different worlds apart as the other is working whilst the other is desolate. With the Harare City Council (HCC) tap water being shunned by many as dirty, residents are now relying on borehole water for drinking.


Chitungwiza residents gather to fetch safe water at a borehole

Many boreholes in urban areas have malfunctioned, clean and safe water has become a scarce commodity. A middle aged barber based at Nenyere Mbare flats, revealed that clean water was now a problem due to few boreholes servicing the area.“Many boreholes need to be rehabilitated as residents are enduring agony in fetching water from far away boreholes. The water table level has decreased thus leaving the bush pump boreholes without water”, he said on condition of anonymity.

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Residents could be seen around the hostels carrying containers full of water as ants working on an anthill. Precious Noto of Glen Norah is convinced that drinking refrigerated tap water is the solution. Ms Noriwe Chinhara of Tynwald South has vowed never to drink tap water for fear of contracting typhoid but to use the condemned water by many for cooking, bathing and washing.


Humanitarian organisations are working flat out to quell the outbreak of typhoid. Latter Day Saints Church is assisting by drilling boreholes in urban communities at the risk of typhoid. Medicines Sans Frontiers is rehabilitating malfunctioning boreholes with the help of local community watergroups.  However as the case in Ward 29, Glen-Norah A and other urban communities, other residents have managed to have their nearby boreholes rehabilitated whilst their counterparts in the same ward left theirs idle as no one mobilized them to form a water club.

Freddy Mtisi of Glen Norah A blamed the economic hardships for people to contribute money for the water committees. “Some people are poor thus disadvantaging them from having boreholes rehabilitated for clean water. Surely measures should be taken because even bush pump boreholes being drilled by Latter Day Saints Church will malfunction in due course because of   climate change which has seen water level in many parts of the country decreasing. With many residents not affording to fork money to buy electric generators for water and $1per household every month to pay for electricity on electric energy powered boreholes then solar pumping system can save the masses.

Provision of clean and adequate water is a Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) under sustainable livelihoods thus generations to come should have the chaotic water situation in urban areas solved. Ever since the borehole in Glen Norah was rehabilitated residents nearby has never been short of clean and safe  water to drink. Solar submersible pumps are another solution as they are cost saving and can pump water on low water table level. The water pump can be used whilst being 80 meters down thereby managing residents to draw water even when   the water tab is low. The solar panels will be polycrystalline so that even on a cloudy day the solar energy will be generated and also on a rainy day.

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Provision of clean and adequate water is a Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) under sustainable livelihoods thus generations to come should have the chaotic water situation in urban areas solved


Most solar submersible pumps can pump up to 35000 litres per hour and tank reservoirs can be constructed. The solar panels output is connected to the pump controller which monitors the volts being used by the pump. Solar submersible pumps are environmentally friendly as the solar panels in the urban area can be constructed on a 1 metre upright platform because no animals can interfere.

Water falls under natural resources so local Green Funds can be used for solar energy to be used on desolate boreholes and boreholes that will assist in alleviating typhoid. Solar energy boreholes are cost effective on the part of the residents and also the donor community thereby many boreholes will be reached.

As many car parks have sprouted in urban community areas, car wash projects can be established mainly in high density areas to ease unemployment through entrepreneurship. Green energy will empower also women to form community garden near the boreholes where suitable for gardening. Taps will be constructed on the solar energy boreholes making it easy for people to draw water speedily.

The idea of having clean and safe water will also lead to self sufficiency, build sustainable communities and empower community action over the use of natural resources that is water powered by solar energy respite of electricity energy.

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