Byo water crisis deepens

HARARE - The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has revised its water rationing schedule from 48 hours to 72 hours, advising that it will take “further drastic measures” if the crisis persists on the back of the heat wave affecting the country.

The increase of the rationing period comes hardly a few days after most residents here went for about four days without the precious liquid.

“ . . . dam levels continue to deplete at a faster rate due to the current heat wave currently being experienced,” BCC’s senior public relations officer, Nesisa Mpofu, said.

“There is still a deficit of about 48ML per day under the 48-hour shedding hence the need to review to 72 hours. If the situation persists, then drastic measure will be taken to continue to conserve the little amount available in the dams,” she said.

Mpofu said the local authority was facing operational challenges within the system, part of which include power cuts by ZETDC that continue to hamper the continuous pumping from supply dams.

She also cited major frequent breakdowns – coupled with burst pipes along the major conveyance lines — on the Mtshabezi Dam line as part of the problems hindering BCC from pumping water for almost a week, since the shedding time began.

“This supply is supposed to add to the water supply since Umzingwane Dam has been decommissioned. The water supply from Nyamandlovu is still very low at an average of 2.5ML/day giving the city more stress to the current supplies. Zinwa is on the ground to increase the capacity to almost above 5ML/Day from Rochester,” Mpofu said.

“This has however, hampered the water distribution in the city by depleting almost all the water in the service reservoirs.”

She said as part of the initiative to ease the problem, water bowsers will be available at strategic points where water supply cannot reach for any reason within the schedule times.

Meanwhile, health institutions have not been spared from the crippling water crisis, with most hospitals in the country not having running water, the Health and Child Care ministry has warned.

This has led to unsanitary conditions and possible further spread of disease in drought-hit areas.

The ministry toured hospitals around the country and found that almost all of them did not have a reliable source of clean water to perform surgical operations.

The water crisis is so dire that Binga District Hospital was forced to partially close last week.

Health ministry secretary, Gerald Gwinji, told the Daily News: “The water woes have sporadically haunted us, affecting service delivery intermittently. Most of our institutions have backup tanks or boreholes but these can only cover temporarily or . . . cover only part of the facility affected.”

“We therefore rely on urgent resolution of all such situations by the relevant authorities,” he said.

“The Binga situation, which is already resolved, resulted from electricity challenges affecting water supply in the area. We appreciate the swift response with which the electricity and water authorities responded to the situation.”

Last week, Binga acting district medical officer, Nyashadzashe Chasauka, advised that the hospital had been incapacitated by the lack of water and electricity.

“ . . . due to the unavailability of water and electricity the hospital will with immediate effect attend to emergency cases and maternity cases only,” Chasauka said in a letter to the district administrator dated November 3.

On the other hand, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals is completing the construction of a $900 000 water reservoir.

Describing the situation as under control, the hospital’s chief executive, Thomas Zigora, said the 2,5 million-litre water reservoir will allow staff and patients to access water via taps for up to three days in cases of water rationing.

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