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Bulawayo residents bitter over water-shedding removal delay

by Staff reporter
24 Jan 2021 at 22:32hrs | Views
BULAWAYO residents have complained over continued water-shedding even after the dams that feed the city's water reservoirs recorded significant inflows following heavy rains.

Water cuts have continued in Bulawayo as the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) last week said Mtshabezi Dam was now 30,3% full, while Mzingwane Dam is at 20,7%, Upper Ncema 29,2%, Lower Ncema 13,5%, Inyankuni 38,3% and Insiza Dam 45% full.

During the peak of Bulawayo's water crisis last year, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) introduced watershedding to preserve the remaining water to take the city up to the rainy season.

When the water situation became worse after the city decommissioned three of its six supply dams, the city council suspended water-shedding, saying that it would only be able to provide water when there was enough capacity to do so.

As a result, some Bulawayo residents have gone for periods ranging from a month to a year without water coming out of their taps.

Bulawayo United Residents Association chairperson Winos Dube said after the city received good rains, it was now time for the BCC to revise its water schedule.

"The BCC has to revisit its water schedule, more-so after there were significant inflows into our supply dams. Now that the decommissioned dams have been recommissioned, it does not make any sense for the city to continue with these painful restrictions of water shedding," Dube said.

Human rights activist Effie Ncube said: "It is high time the BCC adjusts its water-shedding schedules so that throughout the whole of Bulawayo, water is available, even for at least 48 hours.

"As we speak, most of the areas in Bulawayo still go for more than a week without water. This is very dangerous at a time people need water to fight the COVID-19 pandemic."

BCC acting town clerk Sikhangele Zhou said they were still fixing the problems of water pumps that had broken down during the time dams were decommissioned.

"The contractors are still on the site as we speak. They are rectifying the failed pumps. We hope that by next week on January 25 (today), the problem will have been solved," Zhou said.

Meanwhile, the Bulawayo Water Action Group (BWAG) said it would begin a nine-week-long non-violent online water activism programme, which would start today until March 22, the United Nations World Water Day.

"The main purpose of these actions is to create awareness on the power of citizens to defend water rights, and to demand promotion of water rights by local and national authorities," BWAG said in a statement.

The water activists want government to devolve some bulk water rights to local authorities, and the BCC to create a separate water management department.

BWAG also demanded justice for families of the 13 Luveve residents who died last year due to contaminated water.

Source - newsday