By Mashudu Netsianda
The Bulawayo City Council will today start a 48-hour water shedding programme following a decline in water levels at the city’s major supply dams.
In a statement last night, BCC Senior Public Relations Officer, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu, said the latest development follows dwindling water levels at the city’s six supply dams.
She said the situation had been worsened by reduced water supplies to the city due to a burst on the Mtshabezi pipeline.
Initially, council had proposed to introduce a 24-hour water shedding schedule for residents starting in November. Water shedding is a system of conserving tap water by cutting supplies for a fixed period.
“The City of Bulawayo would like to advise residents that due to a serious drop in water supplies, we will be going into a 48-hour water shedding programme instead of the 24 hours which had been earlier anticipated. This has been further exacerbated by a burst on the Mtshabezi Pipeline reducing the city’s water capacity by 16 megalitres,” said Mrs Mpofu.
She said the amount of water in the dams dropped to 30,50 percent from last month’s figure of 32,25 percent.
The total volume is 126 452 645 cubic metres of which the usable volume is 109 867 537 cubic metres. During the same period last year, the operational dams contained 193 843 440 cubic metres of water, which translated to 46,75 percent, which is 16,25 percent more than the current storage.
Upper Ncema was decommissioned in July and Umzingwane Dam was decommissioned on October 16.
At the height of water shedding in 2013, Bulawayo residents went without water for up to four days in a week.
According to the water shedding schedule, all residents are exempted on Sundays while industries and the Central Business District will not have water cuts.
For years, Bulawayo has been under a strict water rationing regime and residents are penalised if they exceed a fixed daily consumption rate.
Households in high density suburbs are expected to use 450 litres per day while those in low density suburbs are limited to 550 litres per day.
In July 2011, the city introduced stringent fines for people who waste water. Fines for residents found using a hosepipe were hiked to $1 500 from $200.
The previous year, council announced that people caught using domestic water for construction would be fined $1 000 up from $30 and those who use water for brick moulding would also pay $1 000. Chronicle