Government still insists that the City of Bulawayo has enough water despite residents going for prolonged periods without access to the precious liquid.
This claim was repeated after President Emmerson Mnangagwa met with city mayor Solomon Mguni in a closed meeting at the Bulawayo State House on Saturday morning.
The mayor was in the company of Town Clerk, Christopher Dube and Director of Engineering Services, Engineer Simela Dube.
The local authority has been informing residents that water levels at the remaining three dams supplying Bulawayo have precariously dropped to 25.7 percent capacity, which has significantly reduced the pumping capacity of raw water to waterworks leading to increased water shedding.
The city is currently under a 144-hour water shedding programme.
While in its statement released Friday on the water update, BCC advised residents that “all Service Reservoir outlets to Eastern and Western Suburbs are closed for August 21, 2020.”
But according to Permanent Secretary in the Information Ministry, Nick Mangwana, who gave a briefing afterwards, there was enough water and the challenge is how to draw that water to taps.
“One main subject of discussion was the water situation in the city. The outcome was that His Excellency directed the city fathers to come up with a three-phased programme, which is costed. Government has already supported Bulawayo City Council with money,” said the permanent secretary.
He noted that government was committed to funding projects meant to improve the water situation in the city a commitment made by the Minister of Finance (Professor Mthuli Ncube) and local government minister July Moyo during their visit in May.
“Following that visit, money was disbursed and His Excellency promised that once the phased programme has been put in place, further monies would be released to the city to make sure that citizens are supplied with water,” Mangwana said.
“It was very clear from the discussions that there is enough water around Bulawayo. It’s really a question of an intellectual investment and expert investment to make sure that water is drawn from where it is in the aquifers to your taps.”
However, before President Mngangagwa departed for the closed discussions with the city council, in her opening remarks, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Bulawayo – Judith Ncube, said water remains a challenge for Bulawayo.
“However, as a province we are grateful for the various interventions that the government has put in place in its endeavour to solve the water problem. We appreciate your interventions Sir which resulted in the equipping and rehabilitation of the 20 boreholes at Rochester in Nyamandlovu. The works have been completed and the boreholes have been producing the required 10 megalitres per day,” she said.
Ncube said she was also grateful that treasury has released money to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) for the Epping Forest Project.
“The project consists of the drilling of 10 new boreholes and equipping of 20 borehole. The contractor is expected to be on site on or before August 28, 2020. Once completed this project will provide an additional 10 mega litres per day to the City,” said the provincial minister.
In a bid to augment water supplies in the city, the local authority supplies water to areas worst affected by water shortages using water bowsers.
Recently in partnership with donor organisations council set up water kiosks to deliver water to residents.
However, the demand for water has outgrown supply forcing residents to resort to unprotected sources to collect water for various use.
As the water crisis escalates, the city council has pleaded with residents to accept the recycling of Khami Dam water as an alternative solution to the city’s water crisis.