Bulawayo dams record paltry inflows

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THE Bulawayo City Council has advised residents to continue using the little available water sparingly as the city’s supply dams have not received significant inflows despite the heavy downpours recorded since last week.

Report by Blondie Ndebele Own correspondent

Council’s deputy director of engineering services Ian Mthunzi told NewsDay yesterday the local authority’s five supply dams had received a paltry 1,5% rain-fed inflows following the heavy rains that pounded the city on Monday and Tuesday.
“We have not yet received significant inflows into our dams,” Mthunzi said.

“We had an overall level of 37% total water capacity before the heavy rains fell.

“We cannot say the city has survived the drought.

“Our dams are now at 38,5% including dirty water storage below the valves, which means usable water is less than that.”

The Meteorological Department on Tuesday reported that Bulawayo received 55mm of rainfall and parts of Matabeleland South received an average of 60mm raising hopes of an improvement in water supply and possible lifting of the water-shedding regime.

All the council’s supply dams have their catchment areas in Matabeleland South.

Mthunzi said the inflows recorded so far translated to about four million cubic metres, a far cry from the city’s average
consumption of 145 megalitres a day.

Council spokesperson Nesisa Mpofu also confirmed the development, adding the water-shedding regime would remain in force until dam levels had risen significantly.

“While we have had significant rains in the past week, it is however too early to make any changes to the water-shedding programme,” she said.

The local authority introduced a stringent water usage regime in July last year after two supply dams — Umzingwane and Upper Ncema — ran dry and were subsequently decommissioned.

Council then tightened this to a 96-hour weekly water-shedding regime.

The local authority is considering decommissioning two more dams as water levels continue to fall.

Bulawayo is currently supplied by three dams: Insiza, Inyankuni and Lower Ncema.

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