Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) will introduce a citywide 24-hour water shedding programme on Monday next week, as the city’s supply dam levels continue to decrease amid increasing demand.
Only Bulawayo city centre, industry and mines are exempted from water shedding.
The planned introduction of the water shedding programme comes as BCC is set to decommission Umzingwane Dam due to low rainfall in the 2021/22 rain season.
Bulawayo draws water from Inyakuni, Insiza, Upper Ncema, Lower Ncema, Mtshabezi and Umzingwane dams as well as Nyamandlovu and Epping Forest aquifers.
Bulawayo supply dam levels are at 58 percent and the water shedding programme will remind residents of the dreaded period experienced in the 2019/20 when some areas went for over five months without tap water.
In 2019, BCC introduced a 24-hour water shedding programme, which it kept tightening until some areas received water once a week.
The local authority described the situation as its worst water crisis.
Government intervened by allocating resources for the rehabilitation of Nyamandlovu and Epping Forest boreholes that improved water supply to the city.
While the rehabilitation of Nyamandlovu and Epping Forest boreholes was seen as a mid-term solution to the city’s perennial water problem, Government is in the process of constructing Lake Gwayi-Shangani and planned delivery of water to Bulawayo is set to present a permanent solution to the water problems.
Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube confirmed the development through a statement yesterday.
“The City of Bulawayo would like to advise members of the public that due to the continued deteriorating water situation in the city’s supply dams and projections of the decommissioning of the Umzingwane Dam during the month of June, a 24-hour water shedding programme will be implemented with effect from Monday 13 June 2022,” said Mr Dube.
In the latest council report, BCC said the city has recorded increased water consumption compared to last year.
“The total consumption for the month of April 2022 was 4,492,209 m3 with a daily average of 144,909.97 m3 (145ML/day). Average daily consumption for April 2021 last year was 134.3ML/day and these differences in consumption were due to the different shedding regimes in the mentioned periods,” reads the report.
The council said the decommissioning of Umzingwane will destabilise the city’s water supplies worsened by a faulty transformer that was struck by lightning.
“The decommissioning would result in reduced available abstraction from UMzingwane ML/Day thus affecting total available raw water for delivery to Criterion. Whereas Criterion should receive more than 110 ML/Day of raw water and produce an average of 100 ML/Day for the city reservoir levels to be stable and ensure continuous water supply,” reads the report.
BCC encouraged residents to conserve water as demand is higher than its pumping capacity.
According to the proposed schedule, Bellevue, Newtown West, West Somerton, Montrose, Southwold, Sizinda, Tshabalala, Nkulumane 1-5, Nkulumane 10-12, Nketa 6,7 and 8, Mpopoma South, Old Pelandaba and Iminyela will have water cuts from Thursday at 7:30am and restoration will be done the following day at the same time.
Cowdray Park, Gwabalanda and Emakhandeni, Ilanda Romney Park, Paddonhurst, Bradfield, Tegela, Emhlangeni, North End, Sunnyside, Barbourfields, Mzilikazi, Nguboyenja and Makokoba will experience water shedding on Thursday in the morning with supplies being restored the following day.
Hillside, South Riding, Fourwinds, Morningside, Barham Green, Greenhill, Mqabuko Heights, Eloana Park and Burnside, Mbalabala Barracks, Mzinyathini Irrigation Scheme will also experience water cuts on Thursday with supplies being restored on Friday.
Parklands, Kumalo, Queens Park, Suburbs, Mahatshula, Woodville and Kingsdale will experience water shedding on Friday at 7.30AM with restoration on Saturday at the same time.
Nketa 9, Emganwini, Pumula North, Pumula East, Pumula South, Old Pumula, Pelandaba West, Khami, Entumbane, Magwegwe West, Lobengula, Lobengula West, Mabutweni, Matshobane, Njube, Luveve, Mpopoma, Magwegwe North and Magwegwe West will have water cuts on Saturday at 7.30AM to the same time on Sunday.
Harrisvale, Trenance, Richmond and Sauerstown will have water cuts on Saturday morning to Sunday morning.
Lochview, Sunninghill, Marlands, Glencoe, Riverside, Waterford, Manningdale, Wilsgrove, Buenavista, Douglasdale, Fortunes Gate, Selbourne Park and Matsheumhlope will have water shedding on Sunday at 7.30AM to Monday at the same time.
Meanwhile, BCC said although it is in support of the Gwayi-Shangani project as a permanent solution to the city’s water problems, it has raised concerns over plans to establish a water treatment plant in Cowdray Park.
Cowdray Park has been identified as the destination for water to be conveyed into the city from the Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline.
Already 11 contractors are on the ground digging tunnels for the 245KM Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline.
“The Town Clerk advised that council was in support of the Gwayi-Shangani project and were engaging Government with the request that Government involve council in the project, especially on the issue of the location as pumping the water to Criterion could be a quick one as Criterion Plant 2 could be immediately utilised, saving the costs of constructing a new water works. The funds earmarked for the construction of the water works could be used to extend the pipeline to Criterion,” reads the report.
To further augment the city’s water supplies, BCC is in the process of engaging a contractor to duplicate the 11km Umzingwane and Ncema pipeline while also improving water delivery from Insiza Dam. – @nqotshili