TORN APART with BOYD PHIRI
CAN anybody spare a 20-litre container of water? A bucket? Maybe even just a potful of water? Because honestly, somebody in the hood wonâ€™t eat or bath without a drop of water.
I am not sure if you have gotten wind of this, or if you care for that matter, but here in Lusaka, we are experiencing a bit of water blues, thanks to one motorist who was driving above the speed limit and hit into a water valve on the main line belonging to Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC).
The situation seems as if we have been transported to a rural outpost where streams have dried up due to unbearable heat.
So, needless to say, we are in just a little bit of a panic in the hood, or at least some people are trying to conserve water by taking copious amounts of beer.
Obviously, with this crisis dealing everyone in the hood a dose of the blues, imbibers would be too happy to take the campaign to a whole new level, â€œDRINK BEER AND CONSERVE WATERâ€.
Although that actually sounds pretty good idea right now, no quantity of beer would work to have a meal done or cool the throat of a sick person.
Nevertheless, if you see me at a watering hole in the hood quaffing donâ€™t think I have relapsed into bad ways. Just trying to conserve water.
We are all going to have to make some sacrifices along the way, whether it be by drinking beer to conserve water or by not taking a bath.
I guess, mini bus drivers have also temporarily stopped forcefully giving call boys a cold bath at bus stations due to lack of water.
If you hear that some men in the hood are restricting their wives from openly handing out glasses of water to visitors, donâ€™t be surprised. It is time to ration water.
People in the hood envy their counterparts in some townships like Ndolaâ€™s Mushili who are complaining about too much water at their disposal.
This reminds me of what Ndola City Council public relations manager Roy Kuseka once wrote to me in appreciation of one of my columns.
He was referring to the article on residents who complain over everything â€“ whether good or bad.
In his own words, he said â€œAt one time, residents of Mushili had to endure for decades without water, a situation that kept the water utility firm on its toes trying to sort out the problem.
And true to their pledge, Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company received donor financial assistance and today taps in Mushili have water.
Funny enough, residents are complaining, saying something like â€œnangula natutemwa ati amenshi nabatuletela, ubwafya bwakuti amenshi nayafulisha.â€
Meaning, although we are happy that authorities have given us water, the problem is that the water is too much. How interesting!!!.â€
That was Mr Kusekaâ€™s experience with residents of Mushili who are complaining about too much water at their disposal.
Obviously, Lusaka residents would be too happy to have plenty of water at the moment.
They say water is life, but many residents would be breathing their last if Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company does not restore supply soon. I mean, how can one have life without water?
Of course, Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company managing director George Ndongwe may not have imagined the social crisis, which was created when suddenly the capital city ran dry.
It put a lot of households on the backfoot but the most hit were bachelors as they had none to fetch water for them.
Some were seen carrying containers in the hood looking for places where to draw water.
These are the desperate situations as they carried â€˜tugubuli-containers, looking for drops of water to either brush their teeth or soak themselves.
Water outages, unlike electricity, are rare and therefore not planned.
As a result, some were seen tip-toeing and knocking at the gates of â€˜ma yardâ€™ â€“neighbouring affluent communities looking for water.
Some did not have containers where to carry the water even if gates were opened for them by well-wishers.
Dry taps have the potential of encouraging bachelors to engage in affairs of convenience or hiring maids just for bringing water.
Thursdayâ€™s incidence was a wake-up call as it was not expected, although somebody at LWSC said that very day was supposed to be a scheduled routine maintenance.
But the driver of a Spacio decided to only test LWSCâ€™s preparedness for emergencies, but in the end, almost the entire population in the capital city experienced water blues.
Do you think it is bachelors only who were exposed?
No. Even married people with children were caught headdresses down.
Instead of looking for water with containers wherever others found it, some people just visited supermarkets and bought packaged water in 10 litres, 20 litres and even 50 litres.
That is the luck one shop owner in Kabwata market bumped himself into when his shop was swarmed by thirsty residents who finished his stock of water within 30 minutes.
If the situation does not normalise, LWSC should deploy water bowsers everywhere and they will make money like beans.
LWSC should be on standby to enter into a public-private partnership with other companies with water bowsers provided other players do not deploy tankers previously used as vacuum or fuel tankers.
If water is life, let LWSC bring back life in the hood before residents die of thirst.
Coping with water blues
TORN APART with BOYD PHIRI