Council has no option but to conserve water: Byo residents

Bulawayo residents have welcomed the local authority’s tight 120-hour water-shedding regime which took effect Monday as the only option Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has in preserving its almost depleted water sources.

Bulawayo’s water woes continue to worsen at a time when the world is battling against the COVID-19 pandemic, with its supply dam levels averaging 31 percent.

The city fathers were this week left with no choice but to increase the water-shedding times from 108 hours to 120 hours a week.

“I guess they have a reason to do that considering that we did not receive normal rains this year,” Priston Levison, a Mzilikazi resident, told CITE.

“Surely a number of Bulawayo City Council workers including decision makers are affected by this as well. If we have water every day now we will shooting ourselves in the foot because around August we will not have water at all.”

He said it was however unfortunate that water challenges were being experience at a time when residents needed the precious liquid the most in the wake of COVID-19.

“However, it is sad that water shedding is introduced when we are supposed to practice social distancing because of coronavirus,” lamented Levison.

“People will be forced to queue for water at the boreholes because the containers we have cannot last us five days.”

He said it was important for the local authority to come up openly and fully explain to residents why the water-shedding had to be further increased, adding if everybody understood the reasons behind that there would be no complaints.

“BCC has to fix broken or no longer working boreholes so that the number of people queuing per borehole is reduced,” he said.

“More so, water supply through bowsers per area should be from the second day of shedding because the problem is that they (BCC) supply when everyone is at a desperate point for water.”

Nhlalwenhle Ngwenya of Fourwinds said the water situation in the city was seemingly not getting any better.

“If you have noticed water shortages have been building up for quite a while now,” he explained.

“It was first a few hours, days and then now we are here. Now I have to fill out water in all containers I can get hold of, including the bath tub. Some days its worse; you can go for a day or two without bathing.”

He said failure by BCC to adhere to its set water-shedding time table was also worsening the situation, adding it was high powers-that-be expedited the Zambezi water project.

“At a time when every household needs to have adequate water supply because of the battle against COVID-19, it is saddening that the City of Bulawayo has extended water shedding for up to five days in a week,” lamented spokesperson for the National Consumer Rights Association, Effie  Ncube.

“It will make it extremely difficult for people to keep up with personal hygiene needs that are required for us to prevent being infected by coronavirus.”

He added: “Having said that one understands the fact that we had a serious drought this year and it is therefore apparent that our dams are down to their lowest and some of them have already been decommissioned. So one understands the challenges that the city of Bulawayo is facing.”

Ncube challenged the Council to drill more boreholes across the city, adding the long term solution to the city’s annual water woes lied in the harnessing of water from Zambezi River.

Meanwhile, the local authority has since written to central government requesting that the city be declared a water shortage area in order to attract resources to address the challenge.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association has also written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa demanding the same.

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