Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is reportedly sharply divided over proposed plans to introduce a water-rationing regime in the city with senior council officials and councillors arguing previous attempts had failed to achieve the intended results.
BCC director of engineering services Simela Dube recently told the Future Water and Water Action Committee it was imprudent to introduce the measure as the local authority had previously lost a lot of water through evaporation.
“A lot of water was lost through evaporation and water shedding would result in more evaporation,” he said.
“It would not be prudent to introduce water shedding as it would affect other operations. Water shedding would only be considered when the system is unable to deliver sufficient water.”
Two months ago, council noted that most of its five supply dams carried a little over 20 months’ supply of water, thus painting a grim picture of the city’s water situation.
However, according to the report, some councillors said council should introduce five-hour daily water cuts as a stop-gap measure while the local authority pursues the Mtshabezi Dam water pipeline project.
“The total amount of water stored in the dams stood at 177 421 cubic metres and based on the possible maximum monthly drawdown of about 9 800 cubic metres, the expected depletion period still translated to approximately over 20 months,” said the report.
The report says the estimated available volumes did not take into account siltation that had increased due to gold-panning activities.
“Secondly, some figures were estimates due to missing gauge plates.
“Most of the available water was held in Insiza Dam (more than 80%)and could not be abstracted at the required rate due to pipeline constraints.”