The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Municipal Reporter
BULAWAYO’S supply water dams got a mere two percent inflows, while two dams got nothing at all, from the first rains experienced in the Matabeleland region a few weeks ago, painting a bleak picture to the water situation in the country’s second largest city.
The city has been enduring a four-day water shedding regime since last month as water levels in the supply dams continue to go down. According to the latest dam statistics it appears the rains that have been experienced in the country have done little to change the situation at the supply dams.
According to the statistics, obtained from Bulawayo City Council, the dams received a total of 4 007 890 cubic metres of water pushing the total volume of water in the dams to 152 777 978 cubic metres, which is an increment of just 2,6 percent. Two of the dams, Umzingwane and Lower Ncema have received no inflows at all, which might spell disaster for the city as Umzingwane will soon be the second dam to be decommissioned after Upper Ncema with its capacity standing at 4,21 percent with a total volume of 1 879 000 cubic meters in the dam.
The only two dams that received any significant inflows so far are Mtshabezi at 2,1 million cubic metres and Inyankuni at 1,5 million cubic metres. Insiza Mayfair Dam got 101 000 cubic metres and Upper Ncema 125 000 cubic metres. The city’s dams are at 36,9 percent full with Mtshabezi which has a capacity of 51 996 000 cubic metres being 61,24 percent full, Inyankuni, which has a carrying capacity of 80 781 000 cubic metres is 53,8 percent full and Insiza Mayfair, with a carrying capacity of 173 491 000 cubic metres is 40,56 full.
Lower Ncema which has a carrying capacity of 18 237 700 cubic metres is 19,45 percent full, Umzingwane with a carrying capacity of 44 663 500 cubic metres is 4,21 percent full while Upper Ncema which has a carrying capacity of 45 458 500 cubic metres is 3,7 percent full, and is the only dam that has been decommissioned thus far.
The city faces perennial water shortages with city fathers identifying the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project as the long-term solution to the city’s problems. Other projects identified include the Epping Forest boreholes project that will increase the water being pumped from the Nyamandlovu Aquifer and the duplication of the Insiza pipeline to complement the current pipeline and increase water being pumped from Insiza Mayfair. The ongoing construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam by Government is also expected to ease the water shortages. Bulawayo is also said to be operating with a deficit of four dams as an additional supply dam is supposed to be constructed after every 10 years to meet the growth of the population.