THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has introduced a 36-hour water-rationing schedule citing low levels in the city’s reservoirs and supply dams, highlighting the acuteness of the water problems in Zimbabwe’s second biggest city.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The local authority began implementing the day-and-a half water-rationing regime yesterday, a day after town clerk Christopher Dube announced the latest schedule.
The development comes a month after council warned of severe water shortages this year as water levels at three of the city’s major supply dams — Umzingwane, Upper Ncema and Lower Ncema — dwindled to critical levels despite this being the rainy season.
According to a January future water supplies and water action committee, Bulawayo’s five supply dams were 65,58% full as of November last year, a situation the local authority said showed the situation was desperate after an extended dry spell.
“This (36-hour water-rationing) has been necessitated by low levels at the city’s water supply reservoirs and at the Umzingwane Dam. In a bid to manage water supply, this shedding will initially run for 36 hours a week, citywide, and will be reviewed weekly until the situation normalises,” Dube said in a statement, before urging “residents to conserve and use water sparingly.”
Residents have endured periodic water cuts since last year, blamed on low water levels at the city’s reservoirs due to several factors, among them, lack of foreign currency to purchase water purification chemicals and power outages affecting pumping capacity at its waterworks.
Bulawayo has, for years, faced serious water shortages, with city fathers being forced to decommission some supply dams after water levels dropped to critical levels.
City fathers have also resorted to penalising residents who hoard the precious liquid or use more than the stipulated amounts per day.