A CHITUNGWIZA man slipped and drowned in Hunyani River where he was fetching water last week.
Rescue efforts by the man’s teenage son and other residents were in vain.
The MDC-T led Chitungwiza Municipality has dismally failed to provide potable water forcing residents to fetch water from unprotected sources.
Police spokesperson Inspector Tarirai Dube confirmed the death.
Sources said they witnessed the police sub-aqua team retrieving the body of one unidentified man who was fetching water.
“The man stayed in Manyame Park and had just arrived from his rural homestead, a few days before the tragedy. He was fetching water in the company of his son when he slipped into the river and drowned,” said Ms Priscilla Zisengwe.
Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) director Ms Alice Kuveya attributed the death to failure by council to provide water.
“There are serious water challenges in the town. In some cases, water is being sold for $10 per 20-litre bucket. Those who cannot afford buying water daily turn to unprotected sources, hence the drowning of one of our own recently,” he said.
Ms Kuveya appealed for Government intervention in the provision of adequate water to Chitungwiza.
Chitungwiza has no dams or a water treatment plant of its own, and gets water from Harare City Council, where its debt now runs into millions of dollars and it is struggling to pay.
Chitungwiza mayor, Councillor Lovemore Maiko, last week admitted to failing to adequately provide water to residents.
“In terms of water supplies, what we are getting from Harare is not enough. It is just a drop in the ocean,” he said.
“We had undertaken a programme to drill boreholes to complement water supplies from Harare, but most of the boreholes have dried up.”
Clr Maiko said council was now engaging partners to resuscitate some of the boreholes while pressing Government to assist in the construction of the town’s own dam.
Those who stay in the St Mary’s and Manyame Park areas rely on water from Hunyani River.
Chitungwiza residents get council water almost once a fortnight while some parts of the town have gone for months without getting water at all.
Vendors in the town are taking advantage of acute water shortages in Chitungwiza, and enjoy brisk business selling a 20-litre bucket of water at prices ranging from $5 to $10.
Selling water is now common in the town, with companies and pushcart vendors competing for customers.
Families are also drilling boreholes and sinking wells at their homes for consumption and for business.
Bulk water suppliers are also cashing in on the crisis with large trucks, sometimes with double trailers, coming from as far as Chinhoyi to supply water in Chitungwiza.