BCC seeks di­vine in­ter­ven­tion for wa­ter cri­sis

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Aux­ilia Ka­ton­go­mara/Vusumuzi Dube

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

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