Bu­l­awayo sounds wa­ter sup­ply warn­ing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Nqo­bile Tshili

BU­L­AWAYO may run out of wa­ter in the next three months if res­i­dents do not use it spar­ingly.

The city’s six sup­ply dams are hold­ing a cu­mu­la­tive 150 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres of wa­ter, which is 36 per­cent of their to­tal ca­pac­ity.

The city coun­cil has warned that it may tighten the strict wa­ter ra­tioning regime to make the wa­ter last un­til the next rainy sea­son, at the end of the year.

Di­rec­tor of en­gi­neer­ing ser­vices, En­gi­neer Simela Dube yes­ter­day said Up­per Ncema, one of the sup­ply dams has al­ready been de­com­mis­sioned and Umz­ing­wane may fol­low in three months.

He said last year dams gained about two months’ sup­ply from the lit­tle rain that fell.

In March this year the city changed wa­ter ra­tioning lim­its to con­serve dwin­dling sup­plies.

House­holds in high den­sity sub­urbs are ex­pected to use 450 litres per day while those in low den­sity sub­urbs are lim­ited to 550 litres per day.

Speak­ing dur­ing the city’s me­dia brief­ing yes­ter­day, Eng Dube said res­i­dents should con­serve wa­ter or risk strin­gent ra­tioning.

“I be­lieve if we con­serve wa­ter Umz­ing­wane can take us to the next rainy sea­son with­out us re­sort­ing to fur­ther wa­ter ra­tioning. We’re all aware that we’re al­ready un­der wa­ter ra­tioning. So we’re call­ing on res­i­dents to fur­ther re­strict their wa­ter us­age be­cause if we im­pose ra­tioning on them, it will come with penal­ties,” said Eng Simela.

“Our wa­ter lev­els are now at 36 per­cent of ca­pac­ity. Up­per Ncema Dam has been de­com­mis­sioned as it is now one per­cent full. We’re an­tic­i­pat­ing that Umz­ing­wane will be de­com­mis­sioned in the next three months if wa­ter is not used spar­ingly. But if wa­ter is con­served Umz­ing­wane can take us to the next rainy sea­son,” he said.

Eng Dube said the city was pray­ing for an im­proved rainy sea­son say­ing the pre­vi­ous sea­son did not con­trib­ute much to city’s wa­ter sup­plies.

“Our to­tal in­flows for the whole of last year were just 22 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres. Our monthly draw down is nine mil­lion cu­bic me­tres. What we re­ceived from the rains this year was just an al­lo­ca­tion for two months sup­ply. This is why we’re find­ing us in this crit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion. If con­sump­tion re­mains at 120 to 121,000 cu­bic me­tres per day there­about we could be able to stretch into the rainy sea­son,” said Eng Dube.

He said the fig­ure should not in­crease to be­tween 130,000 and 135,000 cu­bic me­tres per day as it was last year dur­ing the heat wave pe­riod.

Eng Dube said the city was ex­plor­ing ways to aug­ment the city’s wa­ter lev­els.

He said one way of aug­ment­ing the city’s wa­ter sup­plies was to tap into the Nya­mandlovu Aquifer.

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