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Bulawayo city fathers reject bid to desilt Umzingwane Dam?

by Staff reporter
09 Oct 2020 at 10:07hrs | Views
BULAWAYO city fathers have rejected an application by a local company to desilt Umzingwane Dam with a view to increasing its water storage capacity and ease water shortages in the city, a council report has revealed.

According to the report, council received an application from Extra Rich Mining Private Limited on September 1 proposing to desilt Umzingwane Dam one of the major water sources for the city.

Umzingwane, Upper Ncema and Lower Ncema have been decommissioned due to low water levels, sparking a serious water crisis in the city. However, the city fathers in ruling out desilting Umzingwane Dam argued that the development "would bring a lot of disturbances to the dam lining and consequently increase seepage."

"The proposed development would increase impurities in the raw water besides making it muddy which could increase the water purification costs to council," read part of the engineering services committee report.

"Furthermore, the proposed project would rather increase siltation than desilt the dam and this would reduce the water-holding capacity of the dam."

Umzingwane is owned by the Bulawayo City Council with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority as the regulating authority.

"Currently, the dam does not have any siltation hence there is no need for desiltation and the alluvial gold mining along Umzingwane River will lead to siltation and reduction in water inflows to the dam," the report adds.

City fathers also argued that desilting would compromise the water quality and quantity within the dam and "therefore there were fears that the envisaged technology would disturb the ecosystem."

Recently, council ruled out de-watering the aquifer underneath the central business district citing technicalities as they feared the process would involve destroying some buildings.

Bulawayo was built on an underground "river" known as the Matsheumhlope aquifer.

A research report titled: "Groundwater resource evaluation of urban Bulawayo aquifer" argues that city fathers are failing to abstract water from the underground river owing to lack of expertise.

A preliminary study of the aquifer undertaken by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research shows groundwater potential of the aquifer from which an "annual yield of 3,5×106 m3 could be obtained."

Source - newsday