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Synchronised toilet flush unites city-dwellers24th of October 2012
Residents of a Zimbabwean city have been asked to flush their toilets at an appointed hour twice a week to prevent their sewer pipes from becoming clogged.
The edict follows a severe drought which has left homes without running water for up to three days at a time. The two main supply dams in Bulawayo - Zimbabwe's second largest city - have dried up and water is currently rationed for 72 hours each week.
Bulawayo's 1.5 million residents are being requested to flush at exactly 7:30pm on Mondays and Thursdays. According to Mayor Thaba Moyo the "big flush" will prevent blockages and keep the pipes wet, as a lack of water has already led some sewage pipes to burst.
The synchronised flush will also hopefully prevent diseases says Eddie Cross, MP for Bulawayo South Cross. "We get blocked-up sewers and we have raw sewage flowing in the streets," he said. "There are no diseases yet but that's the fear - it's very hot and cholera is a risk."
Council workers have visited townships warning people that they risk a fine if they failed to take part in the synchronised flush. Residents will be permitted to flush their toilets at other times, though many have been using buckets instead of flushing due to the lack of water.