Byo extends water-rationing

Bulawayo City Council (BCC)

The Bulawayo City Council has pleaded with government to declare the city, which is currently facing crippling water shortages, a critical water shortage area as dam levels have plummeted to 31% and rationing extended to 108 hours.


Last week, town clerk Christopher Dube advised residents that the city was failing to balance raw and clear water reservoirs at the Criterion Water Treatment plant.

“Drawing of raw water from the dams is increasingly becoming a challenge, and to that effect, council will introduce a 108-hour shedding programme with effect from Wednesday, April 8.

“The water-rationing programme is subject to change if the raw water reservoir level improves or deteriorates beyond the critical level. All the areas that are on high ground and are likely to be affected for more than 48 hours will have water supply by bowsers. Residents are urged to conserve water until further notice,” Dube said.

Mayor Solomon Mguni last week said the water crisis in Bulawayo reflects the realities of a drought and there must be no blame game.

“It makes a difference if our raw water supply dams were 70% full. At 31% full, the call to action is for all and sundry to embrace the water management strategies that the city has put in place until the next rainy season. We wrote to the central government; through the Lands; Water and Rural Resettlement ministry to have Bulawayo declared a critical water shortage area,” Mguni posted on his Facebook wall.

“This would inform our domestic and international appeal for funding in our water augmentation drive. We all await the said declaration. The question now is not about what the city can do for us; but what we can do for the city.

Let’s all put our hands on the deck to save lives in Bulawayo. Let’s campaign together for measures to better our situation. Donate a borehole or bowser to save lives in this COVID-19 pandemic.”

The city’s supply dams are located in Matabeleland South catchment area with two of its major supply dams, Umzingwane and Upper Ncema decommissioned.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairperson Ambrose Sibindi said all stakeholders should ensure reliable provision of water to the city.

“All stakeholders in particular the council and government need to set up a body which should comprise representatives from the private sector; public sector, civil society and residents association to try and identify short-term solutions to this looming catastrophic situation the city faces. The committee should remain in place for the implementation of long-term solutions among them the long talked of the Shangani Dam project pipeline linking the Zambezi River,” he said.

“It’s a fact that government should avail raw water to BCC in terms of building more dams and at the moment it’s not clear as to the challenges faced by the government since the last dam was built long back in 1976 before independence. The best to do now is for all stakeholders to put their heads together to serve the city from running dry.”