Byo's major dam at critical level

BULAWAYO - The levels of one of the major supply dams for Bulawayo, Umzingwane dam, remain critical despite heavy rains experienced in most parts of Matabeleland region, council officials say.

Speaking to councillors and journalists during a tour of the dam, Bulawayo City Council deputy director for engineering services Ian Mthunzi said Umzingwane dam is only 29 percent full after receiving an inflow of 45 million cubic metres since the onset of the wet season.

“We consume three million cubic metres per month and if we could use all the water from the dam alone for Bulawayo then the dam will dry up since the water is not enough,” he said.

Mthunzi said council needs the dam more than other dams in the region.

Umzingwane depends on other pipelines for gravity, that is why it is always the critical dam.

Council usually boosts it and once it is lost, no water will flow to other dams.

Bulawayo has six major dams which are Insiza, Lower Ncema, Umzingwane, Inyankuni, Upper Ncema and Mtshabezi.

Insiza dam is the largest dam and supplies more water to the city.

Currently, Mtshabezi dam is 94 percent full and has a capacity of 54 million against an average daily consumption of 15 mega litres a day.

Experts have maintained that Bulawayo is not a water shortage area, but faces challenges in harnessing its water resources.

They also added there is abundant lucrative investment opportunities in the city’s water supply sector.
Mthunzi explained that council does not shut down any machinery when they decommission a dam.

“The decommissioning of a dam does not mean that we would have closed valves but it means water would have stopped flowing into the reticulation pipes,” he said.

He said seven million cubic metres of water from the dam is lost through evaporation and seepage.

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