BCC to set up wa­ter cri­sis com­mit­tee

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/national News - Aux­ilia Ka­ton­go­mara

THE Bu­l­awayo City Coun­cil is set­ting up a stake­hold­ers’ wa­ter cri­sis com­mit­tee to deal with the city’s deep­en­ing wa­ter cri­sis.

On Tues­day, coun­cil wrote to its ma­jor stake­hold­ers invit­ing them to pro­vide volunteers wish­ing to be part of the com­mit­tee.

“The City of Bu­l­awayo is in the process of im­ple­ment­ing a wa­ter shed­ding pro­gramme so as to counter a wa­ter cri­sis that may be­fall the City.

The City has thus deemed it nec­es­sary to re­vive the Wa­ter Cri­sis Com­mit­tee which will be com­prised of var­i­ous stake­hold­ers,” wrote Town Clerk, Mr Christo­pher Dube.

He said the com­mit­tee’s terms of ref­er­ence in­clude mon­i­tor­ing the wa­ter cri­sis, rec­om­mend­ing pos­si­ble so­lu­tions as well as con­tribut­ing ma­te­rial, fi­nan­cial and ex­per­tise to­wards the man­age­ment of the cri­sis.

Ac­cord­ing to coun­cil, the com­mit­tee is ex­pected to hold its first meeting on Oc­to­ber 25 at the City Hall.

The BCC is set to in­tro­duce wa­ter shed­ding early next month.

Wa­ter shed­ding is a sys­tem of con­serv­ing tap wa­ter by cut­ting sup­plies for a fixed pe­riod.

At the height of wa­ter shed­ding in 2013, Bu­l­awayo res­i­dents went without wa­ter for up to four days in a week.

Mayor Coun­cil­lor Martin Moyo has warned a 48-hour sched­ule may be im­ple­mented if res­i­dents do not con­serve wa­ter.

He said wa­ter lev­els at the city’s six sup­ply dams — In­siza, Mt­shabezi, Umz­ing­wane, Inyankuni, Up­per and Lower Ncema — stand at less than 30 per­cent of their cu­mu­la­tive ca­pac­ity.

“This is a se­ri­ous predica­ment we’re fac­ing. The only way the city can be spared from shed­ding is if we re­ceive sub­stan­tial rains in the in­terim.

“As long as no wa­ter flows into the dams we will have to go through with wa­ter shed­ding. We might be look­ing at 48 hours per week but de­pend­ing on the sever­ity we might push to 72 hours. We’re hop­ing that it doesn’t get that bad,” said Clr Moyo.

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.

In July 2011, the city in­tro­duced strin­gent fines for peo­ple who waste wa­ter.

Fines for res­i­dents found us­ing a hosepipe were hiked to $1 500 from $200.

The pre­vi­ous year, coun­cil an­nounced that peo­ple caught us­ing do­mes­tic wa­ter for con­struc­tion would be fined $1 000 up from $30 and those who use wa­ter for brick mould­ing would also pay $1 000.

Ex­perts have ar­gued that Bu­l­awayo is not a wa­ter short­age area but the city is fac­ing chal­lenges in ex­tract­ing avail­able wa­ter for use. — @Aux­il­iaK.

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