The City of Bulawayo is currently only receiving 8 - 10 hours of power supply, resulting in a drop from the early March 2023 system input volume of 120 ML/ Day to 40 - 50 ML/ Day. This has put a significant strain on the high-placed suburbs, and the City has been forced to implement several measures to alleviate the crisis.
As a result, Bulawayo continues to face a severe water crisis, with the six supply dams only at 59.23 % capacity as of Wednesday, 22nd March 2023. Of particular concern is the UMzingwane Dam, which is only at 17% capacity and is expected to be decommissioned again in August 2023. This coupled with power outages and water shortages, has resulted in the City managing daily water restoration programmes since mid-November 2022.
To mitigate the situation, the City has been gradually building raw water reservoir stocks at the Criterion's 1,400 megalitre reservoir, with plans to reintroduce the 72-hour water shedding programme. However, the City has been experiencing daily power cuts since the 1st week of March, with some lasting over 24 hours, severely impacting the City's ability to pump water.
One of the measures to try and alleviate the situation, includes reactivating the Water Crisis Committee and welcoming well-wishers to participate in any way possible to alleviate the crisis. The City is also hiring additional water trucks to deliver water to high-lying areas such as Nkulumane, Emganwini, Pumula, Magwegwe, and Entumbane, and also using the existing infrastructure such as water kiosks strategically located throughout the City.
The City is calling on the donor community to assist with funding and in-kind donations of materials to repair and rehabilitate hand-pumps, as well as procuring 20-liter water containers for residents, particularly those in high-placed suburbs. Schools and clinics with functional boreholes and elevated tanks are encouraged to optimize these resources for the benefit of students and patients, and to add additional access water points accessible from outside the school's boundaries.
Residents are urged to avoid using unprotected wells and other water sources and to boil all water, whether from a borehole, water kiosk, water bowser, or water tap. Despite the dire situation, public health and hygiene practices must continue to be upheld.
The City of Bulawayo is doing everything possible to mitigate the water crisis, and we urge residents, the corporate world, councillors, and policymakers to join hands in this effort. It is only through collective action that we can ensure a sustainable and reliable water supply for all.
DATE : Wendesday 22 March 2023
C. DUBE TOWN CLERK