THE government has declared Gwayi and Umzingwane water catchment areas water shortage hit zones, paving way for emergency funding from the State and the donor community.
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe
According to the latest issue of the Government Gazette, the decision that will have a bearing on Bulawayo was reached following recommendations from the two catchment areas which cover Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces.
“It is hereby notified that the Ministry of Water Resources Development and Management, acting on the recommendation of the National Water Authority and in consultation with the catchment council for Gwayi and the catchment council for Mzingwane, has, in terms of Section 61 of the Water Act (Chapter20:24) declared Gwayi and Mzingwane catchment areas as water shortage areas,” reads part of the notice by minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo.
“Pursuant to the general notice, residents in the areas declared as water shortages areas may face water cuts as the council will ration its supply.
“To this end, stakeholders must be timeously advised through the Press or any other mode of communication beforehand about the water rationing or cuts.
“On a positive note, the declaration of water shortage may pave way for emergency funding from the government and donors to install water projects in the affected areas.”
All Bulawayo supply dams, including Insiza, Inyankuni, Umzingwane and Lower and Upper Ncema, are situated in the Umzingwane catchment area, but the city is under the Gwayi catchment area.
At the end of last month, Bulawayo City Council said dam levels had marginally improved to 43,37% compared to 37% before the rains began.
Bulawayo City Council (BCC) introduced a 96-hours-per-week water-shedding regime in July last year after two supply dams — Umzingwane and Upper Ncema — ran dry and were subsequently decommissioned.
BCC recently reduced the water shedding by 24 hours.