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Umzingwane Dam decommissioned

by Staff reporter
05 Jan 2024 at 00:50hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council has decommissioned Umzingwane Dam as its water levels are very low due to poor inflows during the last rainy season.

The decommissioning process entails the closure of water outflow from the dam to prevent any further use, which will reduce water abstraction to the city by 7ML per day.

The dam's water levels are critically low to meet usable volumes. The city has six supply dams including Lower Ncema, Upper Ncena, Inyankuni, Mtshabezi and Insiza.

"The director of engineering services reported that the decommissioning of Umzingwane Dam as had been previously projected was as of the 19th of November 2023 due to the prevailing circumstances of insufficient rainfall and critically low usable volumes," said the council in its latest minutes.

"Recent meteorological reports indicated that the region served by the Umzingwane Dam had experienced a prolonged period of insufficient rainfall.

"As a result, the dam's water levels had significantly depleted, leading to a critically low usable volume."

The local authority said the remaining water at Umzingwane Dam, often referred to as "dead water" was amounting to approximately 1 786 540 cubic meters. "This volume was not suitable for extraction or utilisation due to its low quality and inability to meet the required standards for various purposes as well as an environmental measure to preserve aquatic life and natural resources," it said.

The council said transparent and timely communication regarding the issue was maintained with all relevant stakeholders, including local communities, water authorities and Government agencies.

"The decommissioning of Umzingwane would result in the city's available abstraction being reduced by 7ML a day," said the council.

The water from Mtshabezi would be delivered to Ncema through the bypass. Lower Ncema's depletion tended to occur later than projected as Upper Ncema serves as it's water source.

"The current figures, as of the report's preparation date, highlighted that while Insiza and Mtshabezi dams were anticipated to deplete last, the potential water abstraction from these dams was constrained by pipeline capacities."

The Government has already availed $7 billion and a borehole drilling rig for Bulawayo as part of short to medium-term interventions to address the city's water shortages while pushing the Lake Gwayi-Shangani project, which would start pumping water next year.

The $7 billion fund will be channelled towards repairing broken-down boreholes at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer to ensure the pumping of 16 megalitres of water per day.

Source - The Chronicle