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Govt avails $10 million bonds only for Bulawayo water supplies

by Staff reporter
29 Apr 2020 at 07:44hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has allocated $10 million to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) for the rehabilitation of 15 boreholes at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer to augment Bulawayo's water supply, which is dire due to a decline in dam water levels.

The rehabilitation of the boreholes will increase water obtained from the aquifer to eight megalitres per day from an average three megalitres.

The additional water will only improve the situation slightly as council announced last week that the city needs about 150 mega litres daily but is getting about 90 per day. Bulawayo City Council this week increased to five days the weekly water shedding programme as it takes drastic measures to save water.

As at Tuesday, the city's water supply dams stood at 31,07 percent with Lower Ncema Dam set to be decommissioned next month.

Already, Umzingwane and Upper Ncema Dams have been decommissioned, leaving the city relying on Insiza, Mtshabezi, Inyankuni and the Lower Ncema, whose decommissioning is imminent.

Addressing journalists during a Press briefing in Bulawayo yesterday, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube said it is Government's responsibility to provide constant water to residents as part of efforts to fight Covid-19.

"The province has been affected by perennial water shortages over the years coupled with growing city demands. I am therefore pleased to announce that Government has allocated Zinwa $10,6 million for the rehabilitation of 15 boreholes at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer, which will increase quantities from an average of three megalitres per day to eight megalitres per day," she said.

"We note that this will increase the raw water being received in the city. We are advised that there is consideration for the completion of another water project, Epping Forest Project and other proposed initiatives."

Residents told Chronicle that the water situation was very dire with some of them having gone for more than a month without running water in their taps. They said the five-day water shedding programme spelt calamity for them as it has become reality that they will only receive tap water when council lifts the water shedding programme. The residents said they start queuing for water at 4AM and spend the better part of the day in long queues.
 
Ms Cynthia Mlambo from New Magwegwe said she had joined the queue at 8AM and by 1PM she still had not filled her buckets.

"This water crisis is a problem during these days when we have to observe high levels of hygiene due to coronavirus. When I leave my home, I will be very clear about the need to maintain social distance. But after prolonged hours of queuing for water I forget those regulations. So, these water queues increase our chances of contracting Covid-19. We also cannot avoid coming to the borehole as we cannot stay without water. We have minor children so staying at home without water is not an option," said Ms Mlambo.

Another resident Mrs Irvy Nhau said council should increase the number of boreholes in the area.

"Our houses are in a high lying area so we have not received tap water for a very long time. So, the five-day weekly water shedding exercise means nothing for some of us. Instead council should increase the number of boreholes so that we do not spend most time queuing for water.

"As it stands, I have been here for the better part of the day, so all my other projects cannot move," said Mrs Nhau.

Another resident Mr Irvine Moyo said the water crisis should be a wake-up call for council to come up with a permanent water solution for the city. He said it does not make sense that with an increased population, Bulawayo still depends on water bodies that were built during the colonial era.

"Our city planners need to come up with a permanent solution for water in Bulawayo. We clearly cannot depend on the existing dams for water supplies. Right now, we are exposed to waterborne diseases that include cholera and diarrhoea due to this water shortage. We cannot go for five days without running water. Action needs to be taken to address the water problem and this applies to both council and Government," he said.


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Source - chroncile

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