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BCC implements five-day water shutdown

by Staff reporter
25 Apr 2020 at 07:25hrs | Views
Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has shutdown water supplies for four days due to low reserves and the closure will be followed by a weekly five-day water shedding programme.

Only the central business district (CBD) and industrial areas will be spared from the four-day water shutdown that started on Thursday and ends tomorrow.

The local authority says it was forced to impose citywide shutdown after water consumption drastically increased this week, affecting the city's reservoirs. Some high lying areas hardly access tap water relying on council deliveries using water bowsers due to low pressures in the city's reservoirs.

Bulawayo has been experiencing persistent water shortages since last year following erratic rains in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 rainy seasons. To preserve water, council has been gradually increasing the water shedding exercise, from 48 hours per week, to 96 hours per week before increasing it to 108-hours per week. Starting Monday, council will implement a 120-hour weekly water shedding programme.

"Due to falling water levels, council last year decommissioned Umzingwane and Upper Ncema dams leaving the city with four supply dams. To underline the water crisis, BCC also applied to Government to declare the local authority a water shortage area to pave way for the mobilisation of resources to address the problem. Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube announced the four-day citywide water shutdown on Thursday night.

"The City of Bulawayo would like to advise residents that the city will be introducing the 120-hour water shedding programme with effect from Monday, 27 April 2020. However, in a bid to manage water supply from the low water reservoirs, council would like to advise that there will be an emergency intermittent supply of water across the city, except for industry and CBD until Sunday, 26 April 2020 in a bid to balance the system," said Mr Dube.

"This is due to the very high-water consumption experienced city wide from Tuesday, 21 April 2020 to Wednesday, 22 April 2020 averaging 150 ML/day against the system input of 90ML/day. The system, will therefore, with immediate effect be closed to allow for the recovery of critical reservoirs. The system, will therefore, with immediate effect be closed to allow for the recovery of critical reservoirs."

He urged residents to use water sparingly even during this lockdown period when most people are staying at home.

In an interview, the town clerk said Bulawayo was facing one of its worst ever water crises.

"The population has grown and our infrastructure is now very old. So, we are losing a lot of water through burst pipes. We got a very high none revenue water percentage being lost. This crisis, I think could rate as the worst the city has ever had," said Mr Dube. He said next month council is likely to decommission a third dam, Lower Ncema, a development that would exacerbate the city's water woes.

"We consider 120-hours to be the worst but we can't tell what will happen when we decommission Lower Ncema dam in May. This is going to be one of the worst crises.

"Previously, Bulawayo has experienced a cyclone in every four years but this has not happened. We were expecting to have a cyclone in the past rainy season and we hoped for a cyclone between now and the end of the coming rainy season.

"Normal rainfall does not fill up the city's dams and Matabeleland South did not receive the amount of rains that were received in Matabeleland North resulting in flash floods," he said Mr Dube said council was closely working with Government behind the scenes to try and address the city's water challenges.

He said council was also in negotiations with other stakeholders to address the prevailing crisis but would rather not disclose the finer details of the matter as doing so could jeopardise their engagements.

Source - chronicle