Major water crisis looms in Byo

A major water crisis is looming in Bulawayo when the council is expected to decommission one of its major dams, Umzingwane in July this year.

City of Bulawayo
City of Bulawayo

Speaking at a water summit organised by Habakkuk Trust in Bulawayo recently, council engineer Ian Mthunzi said with the current dam levels and present consumption patterns, it is likely that Umzingwane dam will be decommissioned between June and July this year.

“Once the dam has been decommissioned , the city ‘s ability to meet demand will be compromised as it would be able to receive a combined total of 148 000 cubic metres of water a day from the remaining dams, namely lower Ncema, Inyankuni and Insiza,” said engineer Mthunzi.

He said the water will be not enough to meet the city’s demands. ” There is a possibility of below average rainfall again for the coming season. We need to have contingent plans in advance,” he said.

Muthunzi said council is also looking at the duplication of the Insiza pipeline. “This duplication will cost $21 million and will be implemented in about 10 to 18 months from the time the financial resources are available,” he said. Bulawayo has got five major dams namely, Insiza, Lower Ncema, Umzingwane, Upper Ncema and Inyankuni dam.

The current city’s daily water consumption rate is 114 975 cubic metres a day. Over the years, Bulawayo has been facing perennial water shortages which have been attributed to the increasing high water demand in the city. The city’s population currently stands at about 1, 5 million and the last dam to be built was commissioned in 1976.

Since that period no single dam has been built to correspond the city’s increasingly population. The city’s water dams are also heavily silted due to upstream gold panning.

Last year the city’s major, Thaba Moyo told The Zimbabwean that the city needed a new supply dam every 10 years to meet its increasing water demand.

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