BY SILAS NKALA
WATER levels at Bulawayo’s supply dams have gone down due to evaporation as well as heavy use by farmers and local authorities, Southern Eye has learnt.
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga yesterday said the problem was not peculiar to dams in Matabeleland region, but countrwide.
Bulawayo supply dams in Matabeleland South are said to be at 60,6%, which is higher than the 47,1% normally recorded during this period.
“While dam levels have declined, most dams still hold sufficient water to meet the demand for domestic water requirements, including those dams that supply Bulawayo City Council (BCC).
“Currently, the dam level average for Matabeleland South province is 60,6%, which is higher than the 47,1% expected during this period of the year,” Munyonga said.
“Dams supplying Bulawayo are currently holding enough water to last the city 14,8 months with normal demand.
“As of November 15, 2021, Mtshabezi Dam was 67% full, Upper Ncema 36,8%, Lower Ncema 58%, and Mzingwane 8,3%.”
She said Zinwa’s focus was on the provision of a long-term solution to the water challenges in Bulawayo through the accelerated construction of Gwayi-Shangani Dam and Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo pipeline.
Munyonga said while siltation might be one of the causes of declining water levels in the country, it was not the cause of the low water levels at dams that supply Bulawayo.
“If siltation levels were that high, it would mean that the dams would have been filling up quite frequently even in the seasons when the country received below normal rains, as silt reduces the volumes of water that dams can take.
“It would have meant that the dams would, by now, have dried up, yet they still hold more water than normally expected during this time of the year,” Munyonga said.
BCC has since re-introduced a 48-hour water-shedding programme to deal with water shortages.
Town clerk Christopher Dube, in a notice to residents on Monday, said the 48-hour water-shedding programme was prompted by the continued power cuts at Ncema, Fernhill and Criterion waterworks.
He said power challenges at Nyamandlovu Rochester were also persisting, hence the need to conserve water.
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