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Byo faces stiffer water rationing

BULAWAYO City Council will next month decommission two of its five dams amid revelations that the city is left with 14 months supply of water.

Water levels at Inyankuni and Umzingwane dams have dwindled to 10,71% and 15% of capacity.

In terms of council by-laws, dams are cut from the supply line once water levels plunge to 10% capacity.

The decommissioning would leave three dams on the supply line — Insiza, and Lower and Upper Ncema, which are in the drought-prone Matabeleland South province.

By Wednesday Lower and Upper Ncema were 72% and 42% full respectively while Insiza was 78% full.

On Monday, mayor Thaba Moyo told the Zimbabwe Independent that the city’s more than 1,5 million residents should not panic.

“It’s not a secret that the city is faced with potential water shortages,” Moyo said. “We are set to decommission Inyankuni and Umzingwane in March as the water levels are now too low.”

Moyo said council was working on “a stiffer water-rationing regime”.

“We are aware of the potential water shortage but at present, management is working on a stiffer water-rationing regime. Residents should not worry that they will go for days without water,” he said.

Asked on the likely impact on industry, Moyo said it should not be alarmed.

“Pending water shortages should not alarm either residents or industries. The business community should know that in Bulawayo lies their future for growth and relocating should not dominate their thoughts,” he said.

Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch concurred with Moyo that industries should not be alarmed by pending water shortages as they would “slightly feel the pinch”.

Bloch said industries would not be affected as much as council; “water rationing would largely target non-industrial use”.

“The only danger that industries face in the city is erratic power cuts and salary friction between labour and employers and not water,” he said.

This week, Zesa warned the country of increased power cuts that would see all parts of the country go for more than seven hours daily without any power.

Bulawayo has lost its status as the industrial hub of Zimbabwe largely due to perennial water problems.

Bulawayo needs about 140 000 cubic meters of water daily for both domestic and industrial consumption but the growing population now outstrips supply capacity.

According to a council report in January, residents used 169 790 cubic metres of water daily.

 

Nqobile Bhebhe

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