By NQOBAI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO’S main supply dam, Umzingwane, remains critically low despite heavy downpours, posing a fresh challenge to city fathers.
According to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), the country’s dams have received cumulative 47,5% inflows between October 2020 and end of January this year, the second highest inflows in 50 years.
Several dams across the country are already spilling except for Bulawayo’s supply dams.
City fathers report that most of the city’s six supply dams are now 60% full following recent rains.
However, what is worrying the Bulawayo City Council is that Umzingwane is failing to “pick-up” in terms of inflows, director of engineering services Simela Dube told an engagement meeting on the water situation on Tuesday.
“After yesterday’s (Monday) rains we are now at 60% overall, but Umzingwane which to me is our critical dam still sits at around 34% because if electricity switches off our system doesn’t balance, resulting in water supply challenges,” Dube said.
Umzingwane is one of the three dams which were decommissioned last year due to low water levels.
Council has since recommissioned the dams, resulting in the easing of the water-shedding regime.
Bulawayo recorded a diarrhoeal outbreak in 2020 that claimed 13 lives, and the outbreak was blamed on water shortages.
Council has since announced that residents will receive water four days a week under a new 72-hour weekly water-shedding schedule, and hopes to revert to normal supplies by the end of next month.