BCC seeks divine intervention for water crisis
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has said it is failing to stick to the 72 hour weekly water shedding schedule because of power outages.
The local authority has resorted to seeking divine intervention, encouraging residents to pray for rain, as scientific solutions seem unlikely to help in the near future.
Speaking during a media tour of the city’s supply dams yesterday, the local authority’s director engineering services, Engineer Simela Dube said the city was already failing to utilise the Criterion Water Works reservoir because of negligible supplies being pumped from the supply dams compounded by power cuts.
“In the event that we have power outages we no longer can pump from the reservoir, which acts as a buffer. This explains our failure to adhere to our 72 hour water shedding schedule.
“In the meantime we can, however, not talk of extending the shedding period from 72 hours because the water we have might stretch us to the end of the year but if we don’t get any rains the situation will obviously worsen,” said Eng Dube.
He dismissed speculation that one of the causes of the water shortage was siltation in the supply dams, revealing that none of their reservoirs had evident sand in them as they mainly had rocks.
“A lot of people have asked us whether our dams have siltation, the truth is that it is very minimal. We just need rain, if you note all our off-take points are exposed. This is showing you that siltation is not really a problem.
“When you look at it our daily consumption is 120 megalitres but now we can only supply 80 to 90 megalitres a day depending on the availability of electricity because during the rainy season we have challenges with electricity this thereby affecting our daily supply,” he said.
Eng Dube revealed that Mtshabezi Dam, which since its commissioning has almost always been 100 percent full, was now under pressure as its levels were gradually dropping.
While the long term plan for the city is being worked on, Eng Dube said council had injected $4 million for the Nyamandlovu Acquifer and the Epping Forest projects to supply the city with about 15 to 20 mega litres a day.
Chairperson of the Future Water Supplies council committee, Councillor Siboniso Khumalo said they were shocked that the situation at the dams had worsened from the time they last toured.
“This is both shocking and worrying. We were here a couple of weeks ago, today we were hoping to find an improved situation but instead we find the opposite. Our plea to residents now is that they use the little water we have sparingly so that we stretch our supplies,” said Clr Khumalo.
According to statistics supplied by the local authority as of Wednesday the city’s six supply dams stood at 28,51 percent of their capacity with two dams — Umzingwane and Upper Ncema — already decommissioned.
The total volume in the dams was at 118 207 303 cubic meters with usable water at 101 622 195 cubic metres.
While the rains received in the past couple of days brought hope to Bulawayo residents, the local authority revealed that the supply dams did not receive much inflows with a combined 59 milimetres received which is about 22 594 574 cubic metres far less than a days’ consumption. — @vusadb@AuxiliK