THE 96-hour weekly water-shedding regime currently in force in Bulawayo suburbs is set to continue as the local authority’s supply dams have reportedly received a paltry 0,35% rain-fed inflows since last week’s heavy downfalls.
Report by Silas Nkala
Bulawayo City Council acting director of engineering services Job Jika Ndebele told NewsDay over the weekend that the heavy downpours that the city had received since last week had made insignificant contributions to the supply dams which are currently below 40% of capacity.
“There was just a slight improvement in the rain water inflows into some supply dams as from January 1,” Ndebele said.
“Before January 1, our supply dams were 37,03% full in total. Today (Friday) they are 37,38% full. The slight inflows were recorded at Insiza Dam which had 346 982 cubic metres of water after the January 1 rain water inflows. As long as the city supply dams did not receive significant rain water inflows, the water shedding will remain in force until the situation normalises.”
Ndebele said Umzingwane Dam, as of January 2, had 580 625 cubic metres while Upper Ncema had 409 127 cubic metres of water.
On Friday night, Bulawayo experienced a heavy downpour, but residents in most parts of the city had no running water as the rationing programme remained in force.
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.
The city is also likely to decommission two more dams in March this year if the situation remains unchanged.
Meanwhile, the local authority has said it will continue pushing government to declare the Bulawayo water shortage a disaster to enable mobilisation of donor assistance to alleviate the crisis.
According to latest council minutes, the city fathers said if the declaration is approved, it would enable council to appeal for donor funding and commandeer private borehole owners to share their water sources with the rest of the community.
In December last year, the city’s Future Water Supplies and Water Action Committee approved recommendations from the engineering services department to declare the city a water shortage area and recommended that a request be made to Water Resources Management and Development minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo to formalise the declaration in terms of Section 61 of the Water Act.