The current water-shedding regime in Bulawayo is likely to be prolonged owing to the low levels of water in the city’s supply dams.
Bulawayo which is grappling with perennial water shortages is currently on a tight 72-hour water-shedding programme.
The city relies on six supply dams, Insiza, Inyankuni, Lower Ncema, Upper Ncema, Umzingwane, and Mtshabezi which are all located in Matabeleland South province
“From what we have seen, unfortunately, we must maintain the water shedding because our dams are low. And, we have to be mindful that sometimes we have electricity outages, which affect the current water schedule and result in some residents spending more time without water. Sometimes it will be an issue of water pipe bursts. If that occurs, we have to shut down the whole area that is affected until the situation is resolved,” BCC Corporate Communications Manager Nesisa Mpofu told journalists during a tour of the dams on Friday.
“We also need to address the issue of supply of materials. As residents, we have to play our part by paying our bills on time. Without adequate materials, it becomes difficult to attend to some of the challenges that contribute to water shedding.”
Chairperson of the Future Water and Action Committee, Cllr Edwin Sibanda, said the short to medium solutions that the city can use are buying more pumps and building another dam.
He said the committee has already forwarded a proposal to the council to build Glass Block dam in Filabusi which may supply at least 70 percent of the water needed in the city.
“The water situation in the city is very dire. We need to up our game and come up with immediate solutions. We propose to construct another dam to complement the existing ones. We have seen the water levels, they are very low. This tour has shown us the water levels in our supply dams and we have seen their capacity but it cannot save the City of Bulawayo which has grown over the years. So as the Future Water and Action Committee we propose that we construct a new dam. We currently have a proposal to construct the Glass Block dam in Filabusi which could supply at least 70 percent of our water requirements in the city. So basically that is our short to medium term plan,” Cllr Ndlovu said.
“Secondly we need to buy new pumps. At Umzingwane only one out of four pumps is working. We do have water but our pumping capacity is below what we require. The short term can be getting new pumps and the medium term can be the construction of a new dam. The pumping system needs to be improved as a matter of urgency and we also need to pray that we can get better rains so that the water level can improve.”
Cllr Ndlovu added that if the provinces that house the supply dams do not receive adequate rains, the situation could get worse for residents.
“In the previous council, it was said that the water that is left may sustain us for six months only but according to the law we need to leave a certain amount of water that will keep aqua life alive so technically speaking the water might not even reach the six months. We are in serious trouble as a city if we do not get enough rain,” he said.