COVID-19: Residents express concern over water rationing



BULAWAYO residents have expressed concern over the city council’s move to continue with water-rationing following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), whose prevention demands high level of hygiene.

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) last week announced that it would continue with water-rationing, with acting health services director Charles Malaba saying it was not possible for the residents to have water consistently as supply dams had not received significant inflows.

Bulawayo United Residents Association (BURA) chairperson Winos Dube yesterday, however, said it was very disappointing that council was failing to prioritise water provision at a critical time.

“From Saturday until today, we have no water. We are saying this exercise should be suspended and it’s the talk of the day among the residents. Residents are so surprised by the course of the action from our council,” he said.

“They decided to embark on closing water all these days, yet on the other hand, they are encouraging people to wash their hands now and again using running water.”

Winos said water-rationing should be suspended in times of crisis such as the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s contradicting the gatherings which were banned by the President because people are queuing for water at boreholes. Several people are touching the borehole and no one has protection and this is of serious concern,” he said.

“I think the city fathers should put their heads together and review this because residents are not happy with the stance of the city council.”

Last week, Malaba said the city’s dams were around 34% of capacity and with the rainy season coming to an end, it was crucial for the council to preserve the little water they had in reservoirs.

Meanwhile, BCC has revealed that it has completed the first phase of the rehabilitation of its Criterion Water Treatment Plant, a programme that started from March 21.

“The City of Bulawayo has successfully completed phase 1 of the rehabilitation of the Criterion Water Treatment plant. The first phase was carried out from Saturday March 21 to midnight Monday March 23,” he said.

The town clerk added that measures were being taken to gradually restore water supplies, and to avoid pressure build up and bursts in the system. Water supplies will, therefore, be opened to Pumula, Emganwini from Criterion; to Cowdray Park, Emakhandeni, Entumbane, Gwabalanda, Magwegwe and Lobengula from the Magwegwe reservoir; and to Harrisvale, Jungle, Trenance, Richmond, Sauerstown and Neqi.

Also other suburbs to have water supplies are Hillside South, South Riding, Fourwinds, Hillside, North End, Tegela, Romney Park, Paddonhurst, Sunnyside, Morningside, Rowena, Montrose, Southwold, Greenhill, Barharm Green, Kenilworth, Ilanda and Burnside.

Dube said the rest of the suburbs in the city and its outlying areas remain without water as the rehabilitation of the treatment plants continue.

“Meanwhile, industry, mines and the central business district remain exempted from (rationing),” he said.

BCC is currently improving water and sewerage services through support from the African Development Bank.