THE Bulawayo City Council has written to government requesting that the city be declared a “water shortage area” as the local authority battles to meet water requirements for residents where some suburbs have gone for two months without w
The two major supply dams for the city, Ncema and Mzingwane, have virtually dried up, badly affecting Bulawayo’s water supplies.
It is the first time in the history of the city that the local authority has written to government seeking an intervention on a non-financial matter.
Health officials this week said the city faced a high risk of a disease outbreak unless the water situation was addressed as a matter of urgency.
Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, confirmed this week that the local authority was seeking government intervention on the water situation and hoped that resources would be mobilised to address the crisis.
“We have appealed to government to declare Bulawayo a water shortage area,” Ncube said.
“We hope the government will assist by commandeering resources and by supplying the city with bowsers to reach as many people as possible who are in need of water supplies.”
Ncube said the city was now relying on Inyankuni and Insiza dams for water supplies.
The two dams however supply the city with water through a gravitational process that moves water from high ground to lower areas. But the water levels in the two dams are now so low that the city cannot get adequate supplies.
Bulawayo’s daily water consumption is 141 000 cubic metres but the two dams can supplying only about 90 000 cubic metres a day.
Ncube said the city was also receiving some water from the Nyamandlovu aquifer.
“We are also receiving water from 24 boreholes at the Nyamandlovu aquifer. We are working to repair 77 boreholes at the aquifer that were damaged at the height of farm invasions,” Ncube said.
The water situation deteriorated this week after a weekend fire damaged electrical cables to the engines pumping water at Inyankuni dam, resulting in water cuts to some suburbs.
Cowdray Park, Emakhandeni, Entumbane, Magwegwe and Pumula North have not had water supplies for two months.
Ncube however blamed the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) for the damage to boreholes at the Nyamandlovu aquifer saying the council had warned the water authority to stop the new farmers from fetching water from the aquifer.
“Zinwa allowed war veterans to divert water from the aquifer. The war veterans also damaged pumps and council now has to repair the 77 boreholes that were damaged,” Ncube said.
Bulawayo and the arid Matabeleland region are plagued with perennial water problems whose solution lies in the successful construction of a pipeline from the Zambezi River to the region. – Staff Writer.