By Nqobile Tshili
The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has expanded its weekly water shedding programme from 48 to 72 hours as water levels continue to decline in the city’s supply dams.
Addressing the media yesterday during an emergency water situation press conference at Council Chambers, the Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni said there has also been an increase in water consumption, worsening the situation.
Council introduced the water shedding exercise across the city in February.
“Council has made the decision to introduce 72-hour water shedding programme per week due to a number of challenges which have been experienced over the past weeks. The city’s water demand over the last three weeks has increased from an average of 135 mega litres per day to 150 mega litres per day in comparison to the raw water production figures of 110 mega litres per day, resulting in a deficit of 45 -60 mega litres per day,” said Cllr Mguni.
He said council has been managing the water deficit through the 48-hour water shedding programme but on Saturday consumption increased to an all-time peak of 170 mega litres thereby affecting steady supply of water.
“This has had an overall effect of depleting and almost collapsing the city’s reservoirs and hence the periodic emergency shedding that seeks to stabilise and balance these,” said Cllr Mguni.
He said the situation has been exacerbated by Zesa power cuts that have seen even dedicated power lines at Ncema and Fernhill, which are ordinarily exempt from load shedding, not being spared.
The mayor said dams with pumping boosters such as Inyankuni and Umzingwane have also experienced regular power shedding and this has reduced the raw water delivery to Criterion Water Treatment Plant.
Cllr Mguni said apart from the power cuts, the recurring breaking down of council’s old equipment was affecting efforts to supply water to residents too.
He said as of yesterday water levels had dropped to 38 percent.
“I would like to further highlight the water supply in the supply dams as at Wednesday, 23 October 2019 is precarious at 38,16 percent with the total volume being 158 225 187 cubic metres and the usable volume being 141, 640,079 cubic metres,” he said.
Cllr Mguni said the city is receiving water from five of its six supply dams as Upper Ncema dam was decommissioned in July and the local authority is expected to decommission Umzingwane dam soon.
Cllr Mguni urged residents to use water sparingly.
“Residents are advised that the water rationing allocations remain in force and they are encouraged to adhere to the limits to avoid penalties.
“They are further encouraged to conserve water. The city is in the process of rehabilitating all broken down boreholes (38) citywide and the contractor is on the ground as of today. The boreholes are expected to assist in augmenting water supply for the residents during this period,” he said.
As part of the water shedding programme, Emganwini, Pumula, Nketa 9, Cowdray Park, Emakhandeni, Gwabalanda, Maplanka, Barbourfields, Mzilikazi, Nguboyenja, Makokoba, Hillside South, South riding, Fourwinds, Hillside, North End, Tegela, Romney Park, Paddonhurst, Sunnyside, Morningside, Rowena, Montrose, Southwold, Greenhill, Barham Green, Kenilworth, Ilanda, Burnside, Mbalabala Barracks, Mzinyathini irrigation scheme will have their water cut on Monday at 7:30am before taps are opened on Thursday at the same time.
From Tuesday at 7:30am to Friday at 7:30am Esigodini, Imbizo Barracks, Fortunes Gate, Selbourne Park, Matsheumhlope, Parklands, Khumalo, Queenspark, Suburbs, Mahatshula, Woodville, Kingsdale will be affected by the water shedding programme while Luveve, Magwegwe, Njube, Entumbane, Mpopoma, Lobengula, Mabutweni, Iminyela, Pelandaba, Matshobane suburbs will be affected by the schedule on Wednesday to Saturday at the same times.
Lochview, Sunninghill, Marlands, Glencoe, Riverside, Waterford, Manningdale, Willsgrove, Buena Vista, Douglasdale suburbs will be cut off from Thursday to Sunday.
Only the city’s central business district, mines, industry will not be affected by the water shedding exercise. The Chronicle