The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Municipal Reporter
BULAWAYO has recorded the worst supply dam levels in five years with the local authority upping intervention measures to ease the plight of residents.
Residents in some suburbs in the city are getting water once a week after council introduced a six-day water shedding schedule. Some areas are only expected to be re-connected to the council water system provided the supply dams receive enough inflows in the next rainy season which starts around November.
Responding to questions from Sunday News the local authority’s senior public relations officer, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu, revealed that the situation at the supply dams continues to deteriorate with the levels being the worst since 2015.
“As at 10 July 2020, the overall percentage of the city’s supply dams was 26,33 percent, the worst level recorded in winter in the past five years. Three out of six dams are still decommissioned with Mtshabezi Dam having the highest percentage at 44,42 percent. Residents are therefore encouraged to conserve the little available water amidst the Covid-19 crisis,” said Mrs Mpofu.
The three decommissioned dams are Umzingwane, Upper Ncema and Lower Ncema, with the operational ones being Mtshabezi, Insiza Mayfair and Inyankuni.
Meanwhile, the council spokesperson revealed that there were making considerable progress in the construction of water kiosks in the worst affected areas in the city after securing funding for the 21 out of the targeted 25 sites. Water kiosks are 15 000-litre Jojo tanks which would be constantly supplied by water bowsers feeding mainly high lying areas which may go up to the next rainy season without any water supplies.
Residents will not be asked to pay for the water from the kiosks.
Mrs Mpofu said to date six kiosks were complete, with three being operational.
“Six kiosks are complete and operational, three are in progress and 90 percent complete, 12 have been allocated for implementing by various partners like World Vision and Africa Ahead and Mashaba Family trust. 21 out of 25 sites have been funded. The city is mobilising funds for the remaining four kiosks and welcomes any partners on board,” said Mrs Mpofu.
The council spokesperson said council was also considering adding more sites to the initial 25 kiosks saying this was however, subject to the availability of funds.
“There is a possibility of adding more sites to the initially targeted 25 upon funding availability. The current bowser points will be targeted,” she said.
Last month the local authority, for the first time ever, resolved to also include industry and commerce, inclusive of the Central Business District in the water shedding schedule as the situation continues to deteriorate. The new arrangement saw supplies being cut for 48 hours a week, however, exclusive of key industries such as Delta, Zimbabwe Power Company, Ingwebu and Datlabs.