Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is yet again pinning hopes on the government declaring the city’s water woes a national emergency to address current shortages.
Council has decommissioned Umzingwane dam due to low water levels at a time when residents are enduring a 72-hour water shedding regime.
According to the city fathers, urgent government intervention was needed.
“This situation needed the intervention of the Central Government to declare Bulawayo a critical water shortage area. A report had previously been submitted to the Central Government. A number of promises had been made but none of the promises had been fulfilled,” the latest council minutes read in part.
“The current dam statistics was at 53%. This was not a comfortable situation as summer was fast approaching and the water demand was very high.”
According to city fathers, declaring the city a water crisis area will allow the council to also independently mobilise resources needed for water alleviation projects.
In 2020, the BCC wrote to the Local Government ministry requesting that the city be declared a water shortage area.
In response, the government hired consultants to study the water situation.
In their analysis, the consultants blamed the council for lacking the technical know-how of drawing water from depleted dams.
No dam has been constructed for Bulawayo since 1975.
Bulawayo water supply dams were constructed by the colonial regime.
Lower Ncema was built in 1943 and Upper Ncema 1974, Inyankuni 1965, Umzingwane 1956 and Insiza 1975.
The construction of the Gwayi-Shangani dam is seen as a long-lasting solution to the city’s water woes.