BY PATRICIA SIBANDA/SILISIWE MABALEKA
BULAWAYO faces crippling water shortages after the local authority warned that Umzingwane Dam might be decommissioned this month due to dwindling water levels.
The country has been experiencing a dry spell since last month.
BCC Future Water Supplies Committee chairperson and ward 17 councillor Sikhululekile Moyo said the prolonged dry spell would force council to decommission Umzingwane Dam at the end of this month.
She said dam levels had significantly reduced.
“If we do not experience rainfall anytime from now, the set date reveals that the dam is likely to be decommissioned on March 31,” Moyo said.
“The dam water level is sitting at 7,6% from a recent 8,2%, which means there is little water left in dam.”
Council had projected that dam levels would rise to 30% or there would be a water shortage.
The national average dam level is now at 89%, up from 77,3% in December, but Umzingwane water level has been low.
is at 74,2%, Upper Ncema 21,1%, Mtshabezi 72,5% and Lower Ncema 87,1%.
BCC deputy director for engineering services Sikhumbuzo Ncube said the local authority considered decommissioning Umzingwane Dam due to low water level in December, but shelved the idea at the onset of the rainy season.
Bulawayo has six supply dams which are Insiza, Inyankuni, Upper Ncema, Lower Ncema, Mtshabezi, and Umzingwane.
The decommissioning of Umzingwane will leave the city with five operational supply dams.
Meanwhile, Filabusi residents in Matabeleland South province have complained that the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) is installing pre-paid water meters yet its personnel was not conversant with how they work.
Some residents are saying the old water billing system was much better, adding that the prepaid system would result in most residents failing to pay for water.
Residents said they received
1 000 litres for free, which lasts three days.
Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga said residents should minimise water usage and check for leaks to ensure that the allocated water
“Zinwa is indeed installing prepaid water meters in Filabusi with 1 400 clients expected to have the meters installed at their premises by the end of the exercise.
“As a standard procedure and Zinwa’s internal policy, upon the installation of a prepaid water meter, one is given a cubic metre (1 000 litres) of water to allow him or her time to mobilise money for the purchase of prepaid water,” she said.