FRANCISTOWN: Jackalas No.1, a village located adjacent Ramokgwebana-Zimbabwe border, has over the past 10 months experienced severe water shortage to an extent that some villagers drink contaminated river water.
What is worrying is that the village is near the ever-flowing Ntimbale Dam and this has made Kgosi Tapson Jackalas to conclude that government has abandoned them. Kgosi Jackalas said the water shortage is a perennial problem that even affects government service delivery, private sector and the community at large. He revealed that mostly they survive from four water storage tanks that are positioned at various points in the village. The water is delivered by a bowser, which is unreliable as it comes once in three days.
“The water storage tanks are not even enough for the whole village population. When the water storage tanks are filled up, they don’t last even for an hour as the demand is very high,” he said.
Kgosi Jackalas added that the situation is compounded by the fact that it can take up to two days for authorities to fill the water storage tanks after they are depleted. He revealed that the situation has forced some people to drink untreated water from the river and when it is not flowing, they go as far as digging the river bed to extract water to quench their thirst. Jackalas said he has learnt that some people even go to work and school without taking a bath. According to the village leader, they have reported the issue to Water Utilities Corporation but it seems their complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Jackalas said water bowsing is not a solution as some people use toilets connected to the water system, but are now forced to ferry water by buckets in order to flush their toilets.
He stated that people are now bitter and think that the village leadership has failed them on issues of clean water supply.
Jackalas relayed that the relevant authorities said they were awaiting P200 million funding from the World Bank to expand water infrastructure. The Village Development Committee chairperson and leader of BringBackWaterJackalas1, BoyBoy Zigwa said the situation is a health hazard on both children and elders.
Zigwa added that washing hands or flushing toilets to some households have become a luxury. He said others like him use their vehicles to transport water from neighbouring villages. “People are beginning to lose their hope on the government because they have failed to address the situation,” he said. Zigwa added that the situation worsened following the construction of Ntimbale, which was supposed to tackle water issues in the North East District.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Tati West, Biggie Butale admitted that there is shortage of water at Jackalas No.1 amidst plenty at Ntimbale. The legislator said shortage of water in Jackalas No.1 was triggered by the gravity of the village. “Jackalas No.1 is situated on high ground while the water is pumped from lower ground which makes it difficult for water to reach the villagers,” he explained.
He added that water pipes run from the dam through Masingwaneng, passing Mbalambi straight to Moroka village and the water fails to reach Jackalas as Moroka is lower that Jackalas No.1. Butale promised that the problem would soon be a thing of the past as they have come up with a solution. He said that they are going to use the P200 million from the World Bank, which was awarded to the district to expand the water infrastructure. The government is also going to build a storage tank at Moroka to solve the problem of gravity between the two villages.
Butale said that the project was at evaluation stage and the tender would be awarded between February and March. The hope is for the project to commence in April.