Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
WATER levels at Bulawayo’s supply dams have dropped drastically, with only 29 months supply left amid reports that water consumption in the city has risen.
According to the latest council report, Engineering Services Director Engineer Simela Dube said water consumption had increased by 25ML per day.
“Weather forecasts for the year 2018/2019 show that the country is likely to experience an El-Nino induced drought. In addition to this, the City of Bulawayo has seen a steady rise in the consumption of water from an average of 120ML per day to about 145ML per day. Consequently, this has had an effect in the depletion period of an average of theoretical 29 months. In this regard, a downward revision of water allocation is sought to hedge against the negative impact of limited rains anticipated in the 2018/2019 season and increased water usage in the city. This request has been approved by council and implementation is in progress,” said Eng Dube.
He said the amount of water in the dams was currently at 57.29 percent, a decrease of 2.11 percent from last month’s figure of 59.4 percent.
“The total volume was 237,551,661 cubic metres of which the usable volume was 220,966,553m³. During the same period last year, the operational dams contained 325,015,099 cubic metres of water (78.39 percent), which is 21.1 percent more than the current storage,” said Eng Dube.
Councillors expressed concern over water wastage by residents, saying a lot of water was being lost.
“During water shedding, some residents tend to stock a lot of water which they empty when water is restored to refill again. Such actions result in water loss.
“It’s important for residents to appreciate the water crisis that the city council is facing and use water sparingly,” said Ward 10 Councillor Sinikiwe Mutanda.
Eng Dube said a total of 334 boreholes were operational in the city, while 15 were not working and 28 were yet to be equipped.
“The quality of the water at most of the boreholes is fairly good. A few boreholes have a high degree of saltiness. Borehole water is naturally salty because it is drawn from deep-down the ground and the degree of saltiness depends on the nature of rocks in the water table from which it was drawn from.
“Bacteriological quality of borehole water cannot be guaranteed since the water is untreated and subject to contamination at anytime from environmental factors like sewer overflows and bacteriological contaminated soil,” he said.
Eng Dube advised residents to boil borehole water before drinking.