THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has decommissioned Lower Ncema Dam after water level reached an all-time low of 6,49%, bringing the number of decommissioned dams to three, a move that has forced the city local authority to extend water-rationing from 120 to 144 hours a week.
BY SILAS NKALA
Other dams which have since been decommissioned are the Upper Ncema and the Umzingwane dams.
In a notice, Bulawayo town clerk Christopher Dube let out the bad news.
“Since the decommissioning of the Upper Ncema and Umzingwane dams, the city has been unable to meet its daily demand which averages 155 megalitres (ML) per day,” Dube said.
“The maximum available raw water supply is currently at 94 ML per day. As a result of the gap between demand and supply of 59ML per day, the city has been on water-shedding since February 2019.”
Dube said this has been progressively implemented from the 48 hours, 72 hours, 108 hours to 120 hours regime.
“The daily water consumption for the period ending April 30 has been averaging 110ML per day which is above the available raw water of 94ML per day.
“When Lower Ncema was decommissioned by May 15, only 60 to 65ML per day of raw water will be available for the city from three supply dams and Nyamandlovu aquifer. In order to avoid the system from collapsing due to the supply demand deficit, a more stringent water supply regime of 144-hour will be introduced,” Dube said.
BCC continues to intensify the water shedding programme due to dwindling water levels at the city’s supply dams and challenges in balancing its raw and clean water reservoirs at the Criterion water treatment plant.
The city has since appealed to the central
government to declare Bulawayo a water crisis area to attract aid to build water infrastructure in the city.