Byo wa­ter cri­sis deep­ens

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Aux­ilia Ka­ton­go­mara Chron­i­cle Re­porter

A SEC­OND sup­ply dam has been de­com­mis­sioned in Bu­l­awayo, deep­en­ing the city’s wa­ter cri­sis, the worst in five years.

The lo­cal au­thor­ity, set to em­bark on a 24-hour wa­ter shed­ding sched­ule for all sub­urbs on Novem­ber 1, has been forced to de­com­mis­sion Umz­ing­wane Dam due to low wa­ter lev­els. Up­per Ncema Dam was de­com­mis­sioned in July. This leaves the city re­ly­ing on In­siza, Inyankuni, Lower Ncema, and Mt­shabezi.

The four dams hold only 30,5 per­cent of their cu­mu­la­tive ca­pac­ity.

Coun­cil has warned res­i­dents who ex­ceed their wa­ter ra­tioning lim­its that re­stric­tors would be in­stalled on their taps, adding a 48-hour shed­ding sched­ule may soon be im­ple­mented. The city has been un­der wa­ter ra­tioning since 1984. Deputy direc­tor of en­gi­neer­ing ser­vices En­gi­neer Mente Ndlovu told stake­hold­ers at a wa­ter cri­sis meet­ing yes­ter­day that the city’s sup­ply dams hold about 16 per­cent less wa­ter compared to the same time last year.

“The amount of wa­ter in the dams is cur­rently 30,5 per­cent, from last month’s fig­ure of 32,25 per­cent. The to­tal vol­ume is 126,452,645 cu­bic me­tres, of which the us­able vol­ume is 109,867,537 cu­bic me­tres. Dur­ing the same pe­riod last year, the op­er­a­tional dams con­tained 193,843,440m3 of wa­ter (46.75 per­cent), which is 16,25 per­cent more than the cur­rent stor­age,” said Eng Ndlovu.

“It is ev­i­dent that the avail­able wa­ter in the dams needs to be con­served and one of the strate­gies is to wa­ter shed. For a start a 24-hour regime is rec­om­mended but a 48-hour regime has been sub­mit­ted for fu­ture plan­ning,” he said.

“The pro­posed 48-hour wa­ter shed­ding sched­ule would be im­ple­mented if the rain­fall sit­u­a­tion does not im­prove. This is a bid to con­serve the wa­ter and be able to man­age the limited re­sources and de­clin­ing dam lev­els.”

He said the city had a deficit of 18 mega litres a day since Umz­ing­wane Dam was de­com­mis­sioned. The gap was likely to in­crease due to the high us­age caused by high tem­per­a­tures and high con­sump­tion rates, since it is sum­mer.

Eng Ndlovu said the long term projects that coun­cil was work­ing on were the Ep­ping For­est and re­fur­bish­ment of ex­ist­ing bore­holes.

“This project will aug­ment the city’s cur­rent wa­ter sup­ply with an ad­di­tional 10 mega litres of wa­ter per day and it is es­ti­mated to cost about $4 mil­lion. It is ex­pected to be com­plete by June next year,” he said.

Eng Ndlovu said there were 25 op­er­a­tional bore­holes in Nya­mandlovu and Zinwa was plan­ning to drill an ad­di­tional 20 by De­cem­ber.

Res­i­dents have been en­cour­aged to use wa­ter spar­ingly as the dams con­tinue to be de­pleted and ra­tion lim­its would fur­ther be re­duced if the sit­u­a­tion does not change.

“The ra­tion lim­its are still in place and may fur­ther be re­duced if the sit­u­a­tion per­sists. Penal­ties will still ap­ply to those who will ex­ceed their lim­its. Per­sis­tent con­sumers who will con­tin­u­ously use their wa­ter above set lim­its will have wa­ter re­stric­tors in­serted at their premises. This will only let wa­ter trickle to that limit as stip­u­lated,” said Eng Ndlovu.

Coun­cil has set daily wa­ter al­lo­ca­tions for con­sumers with high den­sity pegged at 500 litres, low den­sity 750 litres, cot­tages with me­ters 200 litres, flat s with me­ters 350 litres and flats with bulk me­ter at 60 per­cent of av­er­age wa­ter us­age for the past six months.

The in­dus­trial ar­eas, cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict and mines are ex­empt from wa­ter shed­ding.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Zim­babwe Pris­ons and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices ap­pealed to coun­cil to spare the pris­ons say­ing the con­se­quences would be dire and might even lead to death of in­mates. Coun­cil promised to look into the mat­ter. Mr Ndlovu said pre­paid wa­ter me­ters would also help con­serve wa­ter and re­vealed that over 3 000 res­i­dents had vol­un­teered to have pre­paid wa­ter me­ters in­stalled at their premises.

Clus­ter com­mit­tees which would work to solve the cri­sis were also set yes­ter­day with re­li­gious lead­ers promis­ing to pray for the rains. — @Aux­il­iaK

Bu­l­awayo City Coun­cil has de­com­mis­sioned Umz­ing­wane Dam

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