Bulawayo sounds water supply warning
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.