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BCC to continue with water-shedding until end of year

by Staff Reporter
13 Mar 2013 at 06:34hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council will continue with its water-shedding regime until the end of the year unless "miracle heavy rains" fall soon, the Mayor, Councillor Thaba Moyo, said yesterday.

In an interview, Clr Moyo said council was putting in place contingency measures to ensure that the 72-hour weekly water-shedding schedule is not increased during the year.

"The rainy season ends in April. So far we have not received meaningful inflows into our dams. Since we cannot manufacture rain, the only other option that is left is to maximise the use of underground water, especially at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer," said Clr Moyo.

He said the time had come for the city to think outside the box because events have proved that it was no longer safe to rely on rain water alone.

"We have to put our heads together as a city because if we wait for the next rainy season, we may be disappointed and get no rain for the next 10 years. This beautiful city should not die," said Clr Moyo.

He declined to comment on the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP), which since 1912 has been touted as the permanent solution to Bulawayo's perennial water shortages.

"Zambezi water is needed urgently. However, I cannot comment on it because the issue is under the control of Minister Sipepa. He is the only one who can give you straight answers to your questions," said Clr Moyo.

The Minister of Water Resources Management and Development, Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, also declined to comment, saying he was out of the country.

However, last year Dr Nkomo announced that he had secured the $1,2 billion needed for the NMZWP from China.

He said the project would be completed three years after workmen moved on site.

The workmen started work early this year.

Commenting on the issue, Bulawayo United Residents Association (Bura) chairperson Mr Winos Dube said the council should start working on mitigation strategies now, to avert disaster.

"It is good that they have realised that we are facing a problem so early. We all agree that there is no rain, but the Nyamandlovu Aquifer must be kept 100 percent operational all the time.

"We do not want to hear, in the middle of the year, that only three boreholes are operational," said Mr Dube.

He said the water issue in Bulawayo called for a united effort and not cheap politicking.

"We all need to work together to ensure that the electrification of Mtshabezi is finished as soon as possible.

"We need all the water we can get from the dam. It is a tragedy that we are only getting about 1 900 cubic metres everyday, out of a possible 17 000, because of the electrification problem," said Mr Dube.

The Bura chairperson appealed to residents to continue using water sparingly.

"This crisis affects everyone and it is up to every individual to play their part in conserving water.

"If we work together, we might make it," said Mr Dube.

In addition to water shedding, Bulawayo is under a permanent water rationing regime aimed at restricting residents' water usage.

Council officials have always insisted that water rationing could only be lifted when water from the Zambezi River reaches the city.

Under the water rationing programme, houses in the eastern suburbs should use no more than 350 litres per day, those in the western suburbs are allowed to use 300 litres, while cottages should not exceed 200 litres. Consumers using more than 13 500 litres in a month would be charged a penalty of $2,63 per kilolitre above the limit.

If consumers exceed their allocation on two consecutive occasions, a restriction disc is inserted into their taps.

People found using hosepipes are fined $1 500 and residents found using treated tap water for construction or brick moulding fork out $1 000.

Source - TC