Special Report: Kitwe’s Chimwemwe residents resort to shallow wells as water scarcity reaches 10 months


Residents of Kitwe’s  Chimwemwe township have resorted to digging shallow wells in search of water as they go 10 months without tap water.

Zambia Monitor understands that since October, residents have been subjected to inconsistent water supply.

At first, residents reportedly resorted to puncturing water pipes in search of water as taps remained dry.

As a last resort, most residents are seen digging shallow wells to sustain homes with water.

According to Nkana Water and Sanitation Company (NWSC), the confirmed erratic supply is as a result of the envisaged replacement of old pipes which most residents, including Chimwemwe Ward Councillor, Kelly  Muwowo, could not buy into.

“Despite President Hakainde Hichilema banning the shallow well in response to the Cholera outbreak some time back, the directive cannot hold because this erratic water supply is serious, we have no option but to resort to digging shallow wells for us to survive,” Alex Daka a resident told Zambia Monitor on Sunday.

Another resident, Solomon Bulaya, said the area had never experienced water supply shortages to the current extent where people spend time searching for water.

Read more: Read more: Water shortages hit Mufulira, as water management company blames ‘fatigued pumps’

“We are in deep trouble, people are walking long distances looking for water, we risk having water borne diseases, this issue needs to be resolved because getting water from shallow wells is not sustainable, a way needs to be found to resolve water shortages,” Bulaya cried out.

On the other hand, Muwowo the civic leader stated that he feared restraining people from cutting water pipes because  of lack of alternatives and that he could risk being beaten.

But NWSC Director of Infrastructure Development, Sheila Mwakazanga, told a stakeholders meeting in Kitwe that residents should bear with the utility company.

“We will soon start replacing pipes, we ordered new pipes which are in the country that will resolve the water blue in Chimwemwe, this is an important market,” Mwakazanga stated.

NWSC has over  8,000 connections in Chimwemwe, hence it is where the water company gets most revenue.

Not supplying  water means the company is not getting enough revenue to sustain operations, and some workers fear that if people resort to shallow wells, the company would be deprived of the much needed revenue.

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