CABINET has approved a raft of interventions aimed at easing Bulawayo’s perennial water shortages where consumers currently go up to three days in a week without water.
Report by Staff Writer
Water Resources and Development minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo on Tuesday tabled a report in cabinet on the Bulawayo water situation, which the municipality is pushing to be declared a national disaster.
Nkomo said cabinet discussed progress on the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipelink which is a short-term solution to the water woes.
The city’s supply dams are drying up while Mtshabezi Dam is 100% full but underutilised, and a pipeline link to Umzingwane Dam would alleviate Bulawayo’s water problems in the short term.
The pipeline project has been on the cards for more than two years but has been delayed by lack of funding and political bickering.
Nkomo said cabinet would push for the project to be completed without further delay.
He also proposed the rehabilitation of 26 aquifers in Nyamandlovu as well as 110 boreholes dotted around Bulawayo. These can supply an additional 30 000 cubic metres of water. The city consumes an average of 120 000 cubic metres a day.
On the declaration of Bulawayo as a disaster zone, Nkomo said the situation was not critical enough to warrant such a move. The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, on the cards for over 100 years, is touted as a permanent solution to the water challenges.
As the water crisis escalates, MDC-T’s top brass in Matabeleland convened an emergency meeting last Friday to craft strategies to ease the shortage. Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe summoned Nkomo, State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo, Agriculture deputy minister Seiso Moyo, senators, MPs and councillors to discuss the water problems which may worsen the deindustrialisation of the city.
Seiso Moyo tabled a report on the drought situation around the country with special focus on Matabeleland South where 300 000 cattle face starvation due to lack of pastures.