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Bulawayo councillors sweat over water nightmare

by Staff reporter
10 Nov 2023 at 06:36hrs | Views
The perpetual water challenges in Bulawayo have prompted the recently elected Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC)-led council to request the central government to declare the city's water crisis an emergency.

Mayor David Coltart is advocating for the rehabilitation of 77 boreholes in the Nyamandlovu area to supplement water supplies, as residents face extended periods without access to water due to diminishing levels in the city's supply dams.

According to excerpts from the council's latest minutes, "It is the council's mandate to harvest and pump water to residents every day. He (deputy mayor Donaldson Mabutho) appealed to the central government to declare Bulawayo a water crisis city. This will assist the city to raise funds and find partners who will assist in dealing with the water crisis."

Mabutho, who, along with other CCC councillors and legislators, was recently recalled, urged the council to invite ministers to lead discussions aimed at addressing the water challenges.

The declaration of Bulawayo as a water crisis area, as per city officials, would empower the council to independently mobilize resources essential for water supply relief projects. In 2020, Bulawayo City Council had previously requested the Local Government ministry to declare the city a water shortage area.

In response, the government enlisted consultants to assess the water situation, attributing the problem to the council's lack of technical expertise in extracting water from depleted dams.

To address the water crisis, the council has outlined plans to construct a dam in the Glassblock area of Filabusi and rehabilitate boreholes in Nyamandlovu. The long-term solution involves the completion of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam and pipeline projects. Mayor Coltart emphasized the immediate priority of rehabilitating the 77 boreholes in Nyamandlovu.

The minutes further highlighted short-term interventions, including duplicating the Insiza to Ncema pipeline and the Mtshabezi to Ncema pipeline. Engaging the central government and the World Bank for funding these projects was suggested. The Gwayi-Shangani Dam construction was reported to be at 74%.

Notably, Bulawayo has not seen the construction of a dam since 1975, and all existing supply dams were built during the colonial era. The completion of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is anticipated to provide a lasting solution to the city's water challenges.

Source - Southern Eye