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Bulawayo tightens water rationing

by Staff reporter
31 Jul 2022 at 08:12hrs | Views
BULAWAYO residents will now go for two days a week without water supplies after the local authority from yesterday effected a 48-hour water shedding schedule.

The local authority has further put in place relief measures like bowsers to high lying areas where water might take longer to be restored against the shedding schedule.

Responding to questions from Sunday News, council corporate communications manager Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said the 48-hour water shedding will be implemented starting with high lying areas.

"The (water) system failed shortly after the scheduled shutdown of the Ncema Station. Demand surpassed supply. Yes, the dams are currently even lower than they were in March, when the original assessment advised shedding the city.

"Since then, the gap has been widening and will continue to widen as dam levels fall. Beginning Saturday, we will reintroduce the 48-hour programme throughout the city, starting with high-lying areas and gradually moving down to the remaining low-lying neighbourhoods," said Mrs Mpofu.

She said when the city introduced the 24-hour water shedding schedule on 5 June, the provision was that if demand exceeds supply, the 48-hour shedding programme would be implemented immediately.

"If the system fails, which is most likely due to water hoarding, daily water tactics are implemented. The 48-hour shedding programme could be implemented in the rest of the city, with the exception of the Criterion Reservoir Zone, thanks to the performance verification that took place from Thursday through Sunday.

"Raw water supply has decreased, and actions have been taken to stabilise Criterion in accordance with the implementation of the 48-hour shedding scheme. After being closed for 48 hours, Criterion has gained as of Friday, along with the other reservoirs," said the council spokesperson.

Mrs Mpofu said strategies have been set in motion to avail additional water bowsers to boost supplies together with the engagement with the hope of soliciting for support from the donor community.

"There are two water bowsers that have been doing the rounds to clinics, schools and water kiosks to give relief to places where residents are likely to go for more than five days without water. We are working on bringing on-line more bowsers to bridge the supply gap for dire situations," she said.

Mrs Mpofu said council was facing pumping problems from the Nyamandlovu boreholes owing to a number of transformers that had been stolen.

"The existing available supply capacity is currently pegged at between 125 and 130 megalitres a day, this could be increased to 135 megalitres a day if not for the difficulties encountered at Nyamandlovu, where a number of transformers have been stolen, limiting the facility's capability to supply 15 megalitres a day, instead, an average of five to seven megalitres a day is supplied," she added.

Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on council to explain inflated bills that have seen some households receiving billing topping $100 000 per month.

Although council indicated that it was indexing bills in foreign currency starting June, some residents said council officials told them that some of the bills were backdated to January.

Residents have taken a swipe at the local authority, with some claiming it now costs more to flush a toilet than buying a loaf of bread.

In a statement, presented at the Bulawayo Media Centre last Thursday, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) secretary for administration, Mr Thembelani Dube said residents were now being forced to pay more than they could afford.

"It now costs more to flush your toilet in Bulawayo than it does to buy a loaf of bread. Water and sewer are largely the cash cows for BCC but sadly there hasn't been any meaningful investment towards these. In the context of rising rates, it is clear that residents are going to be forced to pay more than they can afford which violates economic principles which recommends that utility bills should not cost more than six percent of one's earnings for them to be considered affordable.

"Bulawayo City Council is a multimillion-dollar business and cannot succeed in an environment where it willy-nilly hikes rates without consultation and implements policies that make it difficult for residents to survive.

"BCC has been wantonly hiking rates and tariffs but is failing to provide the matching services that these rates are supposed to fund. A lot of councillors now own stands and properties around the city and have actually failed to stand up to management. The current rates fall outside what the majority of residents earn or are able to generate from informal trading," reads the statement.

Residents also took a swipe at the Tendy Three Investment, BCC parking management system partnership, where they noted that residents have borne the high transactional costs associated with such private contracting.

The residents also blasted council for failing to collect refuse in residential areas.

Source - The Sunday News
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