BY SILAS NKALA
COUNCILLORS in Bulawayo fear that the ongoing water-rationing programme being implemented by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) could serious affect firefighting services and lead to loss of properties in the event of a major fire
BCC is now mulling the introduction of a 72-hour water rationing regime from the current 48-hour schedule as the city’s water situation deteriorates and water bowsers fail to cope with demand.
Vandalism of electricity infrastructure and water pipes have also worsened the situation.
The development comes as residents complain that the local authority was not sticking to its rationing schedule.
Some suburbs have gone for more than a week now without water.
Some residents are also being subjected to water disconnections due to failure to pay rates and ballooning bills emanating from estimated charges.
A latest council report states that councillors were now worried that water-rationing would severely affect firefighting services.
Chamber secretary Sikhangele Zhou raised concern over the issue and Alderman Earnest Rafomoyo concurred, saying water rationing would seriously affect the capacity of the fire brigade to extinguish fire.
He suggested that boreholes and water tanks be installed in every ward for emergency services.
“Councillor Rodney Jele said funding had to be sought in order to cater for the installation of stand-by water tanks. In response the acting director of engineering services Sikhumbuzo Ncube noted the concern raised. He highlighted that solar-powered boreholes were an option that could be explored,” partly read the
Last week, Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni told the Press that Upper Ncema Dam could soon be decommissioned, bringing to two the number of decommissioned dams in Bulawayo after Umzingwane.
If the city loses Upper Ncema, BCC will be forced to introduce a 72-hour water-rationing schedule until the next rains.
Mguni blamed vandalism of infrastructure as one of the major challenges worsening the water situation, amid revelations that council was also struggling to pump water from Nyamandlovu.
“In the Nyamandlovu area, we have lost two transformers to thieves,” Mguni said.
Meanwhile, acting engineer Ncube said the 72-hour water rationing schedule was highly likely as water consumption was averaging 155 megalitres per day, while maximum available raw water supplies were 105 megalitres a day.