Declare Byo water crisis a national disaster: Mayor

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is still waiting for a response from the government to declare the city`s water crisis a national disaster, to pave way for the local authority to engage local and international funding partners.

The city’s water situation is dire as the supply dams are sitting on a meagre 31%.

Water woes in Bulawayo continue to worsen at a time when the country is fighting Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, a virus which requires people to have adequate water supplies to practice good hygiene. 

Recently BCC initiated a 108-hour water-shedding program to contain levels of consumption by citizens. 

“The water crisis in Bulawayo reflects the realities of a drought. No blame game. It makes a difference if our raw water supply dams were 70% full. At 31% full; the call to action is for all and sundry to embrace the water management strategies that the city has put in place until the next rainy season,” said Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni.

“We wrote to the central government, through the Ministry of Lands, Water & Rural Resettlement to have Bulawayo declared a critical water shortage area. This would inform our domestic and international appeal for funding in our water augmentation drive. We all await the said declaration.”

Cllr Mguni added that while the local authority awaits a response from the government, there is a need to think of initiatives to save the city from running dry. 

“The question now is not about what the city can do for us, but what we can do for the city. Let’s all put our hands on the deck to save lives in Bulawayo. Let’s campaign together for measures to better our situation. Donate a borehole or bowser to save lives in this Covid19 pandemic,” he said.

In February, the city fathers debated during a full council meeting over the possible ripple effects such a declaration would have on the economy of Bulawayo.

They raised fears that an announcement that Bulawayo was running dry and appealing for assistance from the international community would scare away potential investors who may be considering bringing business to the city.

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