The Zim town that hit ‘Day Zero’… 20 years ago

It may not be a major metropolis, but residents of Kadoma in central Zimbabwe know what it's like to live without water: their Day Zero happened 20 years ago.

Many taps in the mining and farming town, around two hours’ drive south-west of Harare, are redundant and residents say their children are leaving school without ever using a shower.

Man-made crisis

“Water is a major challenge in Kadoma (and) in some areas residents have not received the precious liquid from their taps for more than 20 years now,” Wikirosi Mutizira, chairperson of the local residents’ association, told the state-run Herald.

Unlike Cape Town, Kadoma’s water woes, as with many cities in Zimbabwe, are man-made. Infrastructure hasn’t been maintained or upgraded to cater for the growth of the town’s population.

Taps are of no use

Many residents have to use water from open sources, or boreholes that were sunk by donors during the cholera epidemic that swept through Zimbabwe a decade ago.

“I have children who are almost completing their secondary school who have never used a shower in their lifetime and it’s such a pity,” said Tichaona Masero, of Kadoma’s Rimuka suburb. “I have since removed outside taps as they are of no use because they risk being stolen,” he told the paper.

Health risk

Annastancia Nduku of the town’s Westview suburb said residents use the bush and nearby maize fields as a lavatory, raising health risks.

Some suburbs in the capital Harare have also gone for years without water, and the nearby town of Chitungwiza is currently fighting a cholera outbreak blamed on the lack of clean water supplies.

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