Bulawayo councillors plan to tour two of the city’s main supply dams, Mtshabezi and Gwayi-Shangani, soon to assess the water levels and determine whether or not to lift the water-rationing regime, which has remained in force three months after the rainy season.
According to latest council minutes, water problems in the city have remained critical despite significant inflows during the just-ended rainy season.
“The rainy season has officially come to an end and there had been notable inflows into the council dams, but they still remain very low,” said a council report.
“The water-rationing programme will remain in operation. However, this has not resulted in significant reduction in water consumption.”
The present consumption figures, council said, still remained above the planned 10 000 cubic metres a day.
The chairman of the council’s Future Water Committee, Ward 26 councillor Norman Hlabani, said the site visits to be undertaken soon would enable council appreciate the gravity of the crisis.
“It was also prudent to invite the Minister of Water Resources Development and Management (Samuel Sipepa Nkomo) so that he could explain issues relating to the water situation,” the report said.
Town clerk Middleton Nyoni also confirmed that a site visit to Mtshabezi and Gwayi-Shangani dams would be arranged.
The local authority noted the water situation had been exacerbated by poor water treatment infrastructure.
“The director of engineering services (Simela Dube) reported that the treatment works was struggling to produce enough water to meet the city’s increasing unsuppressed water demand.
“Ncema Waterworks could only produce 40 000 cubic metres a day against a designed capacity of 81 000 cubic metres a day whilst Criterion Waterworks can only produce an average of 95 200 cubic metres a day against its designed capacity of 180 000 cubic metres a day,” the report said.
Councillors admitted a significant amount of work had been done at the Mtshabezi link, which is seen as the mid-term solution to the city’s water problems.
The report said approximately 23 kilometres of pipeline, which accounts for 50% of the entire pipeline, had been laid, and trenching was 100 % complete.