BULAWAYO city fathers have likened the water crisis in the country’s second largest city to the one experienced during the 1992 drought, which gave birth to the sinking of boreholes at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer as an emergency measure.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU/ PATRICIA SIBANDA
This is despite government consultants recently saying the city had no water shortages and blamed council for lacking technical capacity to draw water from the city’s remaining three supply dams.
Residents are going for six days without the precious liquid under the current water-shedding regime amid revelations that the city’s dams are 28% full and will not last until the next rainy season.
But at a Press conference yesterday, mayor Solomon Mguni repeated calls for the declaration of the city as a water shortage area to allow it to mobilise resources for the completion of short-to-medium term projects such as the recycling of Khami water.
“The current water situation is almost a recurrence of the 1992 situation where the city experienced a crippling drought that affected the city’s raw water storage and supply,” he said.
Mguni insisted council’s abstraction system does not allow for drawing of water from the Insiza Mayfair, Inyankuni and Mtshabezi for the next 14 months as suggested by the government consultants.
Council sees the completion of Epping Forest, adding an additional 10 megalitres (ML) of water per day, increasing of Mtshabezi abstraction from the current 15ML to 25ML per day, recycling Khami to add 12ML, extension of Nyamandlovu North to Sawmills with a potential of 20ML and duplication of the Insiza pipeline for another 16ML as better alternatives.
“The recommendations by the consultant, while appropriate to alleviate the current crisis, only add 29ML per day in terms of additional raw water and projections are that by December 2021, the city will only have 61ML available from Inyankuni and Nyamandlovu aquifer.
“On the other hand, the proposals by the city will provide an additional 59ML per day and the available raw water of 97ML per day by the same period from Nyamandlovu, Inyanknuni and Mtshabezi.”
In the interim, council urged residents to observe hygiene and to desist from relying on unsafe water sources in desperation to avoid infection from water borne and diarrhoeal diseases, adding “every effort is made to supply the residents with clean safe water at all times” using bowsers.