More Boreholes, No Water (IPS)

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SWAZILAND: More Boreholes, No Water

By Mantoe Phakathi

In the drought-stricken area of Siteki, Tibuyile Maziya has been trying to fill up her four 20-litre buckets with water at a community for the last four hours. With a baby on her back and two more buckets to fill up, 19-year-old Maziya says she walks to this well at least three times a week to get water for her family of 15.

Siteki, a small town in the eastern part of Swaziland, has not had water for decades.
“Sometimes I spend the whole day waiting for the water to surface,” said Maziya. “You have to get here very early in the morning, otherwise you can go back home empty handed.” Sometimes when she comes to the well, there are more people than water available.

Besides spending so much time waiting for water and walking for three kilometres to the well, she still has to immerse a bucket inside and has to pull up the heavy water-filled bucket by hand.

Surprisingly, Maziya is standing next to a hand pump borehole and two hundred metres away there is another one. “All these boreholes are not working because they have broken down,” she said. The hand pump boreholes stopped working because of a mechanical failure. And there was no one around who could fix it. “For about two years now, the community has been relying on this spring for water.”

It is almost noon and six more people are still queuing with buckets behind her. The residents of Siteki are not the only ones undergoing this ordeal.

A lot of people in the country, especially those in the Lubombo Region, are still travelling long distances, and have to compete with livestock drinking at the streams for the water. Others rely on springs and wells.



Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.