Boreholes run dry

The delayed 2011-2012 rainy season has made life unbearable for the rural community here as most boreholes have run dry.

Locals are forced to travel to boreholes sunk by the DDF in the 1990s, many of which are in a state of disrepair.
Locals are forced to travel to boreholes sunk by the DDF in the 1990s, many of which are in a state of disrepair.

Villagers are being forced to walk long distances to draw water from the long-abandoned community boreholes sunk by the District Development Fund at the height of the early 1990s drought.

“We do not know how we will survive this time around as there is no water for our garden projects, which we survive on. All boreholes and wells have dried up. There is no source of water in the vicinity. DDF sunk the boreholes at what they deemed as central points in the bushes. Other boreholes where, however, sunk at traditional leaders’ homesteads.

These could be accessed, but queues of people seeking water grow longer by the hour. We have since abandoned the garden projects as our vegetables have wilted beyond recovery,” said Timothy Kamwendo from Bakasa Village.

Locals survive on subsistence farming sell the produce at urban markets such as Mbare and Chikwanha Green Market.

“We are just praying for the rains to at least make the rivers flow again so the livestock have greener pastures. We have already written off farming activities,” said another villager.

Normally, borehole water levels run low at the height of the summer season, rise at the beginning of the rainy season around October or November. However, this year rainfall has been delayed, resulting in the drying up of the only reliable sources of water – boreholes.

The plight of the rural farmers was worsened by the fact that most of the DDF boreholes broke down due to neglect. The urban population was not spared the devastative effects of the acute water shortages. Boreholes illegally sunk at urban homesteads have also run dry.

“We are now using water from boreholes sunk at schools and clinics by NGOs such as UNICEF. Taps here remain dry due to erratic water supplies by council and boreholes sunk at private homesteads have run dry,” said Mavis Matenga of Dombotombo.

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