Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
GWERU City Council has released a water rationing schedule that will see residents going for up to 24 hours without the precious liquid as the city moves to control diminishing water reserves at its supply dam.
A potential water disaster is looming in Gweru amid indications that main potable water supplier Gwenhoro Dam is now left with less than 18 percent of water and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) is on the verge of decommissioning it.
The dire situation has been worsened by the local authority’s failure to secure over ZWL$5 million to purchase new water pumps that could be installed at Amapongobge Dam which is an alternative water source.
If the local authority fails to source water pumps for Amapongobge as a matter of urgency, the city could face a serious water disaster. Only last year water woes caused the typhoid outbreak which left eight residents dead with over 2 000 requiring medical attention.
The city pumping capacity dropped to 20 mega litres a day against the city’s demand of 60 mega litres which has resulted in areas such as Mkoba 14 and Ascot suburbs going for weeks without water.
According to a public notice by Town Clerk, Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza, the water rationing programme will last for 24 hours. The water rationing schedule is from Monday to Sunday in which suburbs have been grouped from group one (G1) to group five (G5).
“In G1 there is Mkoba 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 17, Ascot, Mambo, Mtapa, Clifton Park, Shamrock, Ivene, Lundi Park, Southview, Southdowns, Town, Nashville, Northlea and Claremont Park.
“G2 comprises Town, Ridgemont, Clonsilla, Hertfordshire, Northgate Heights, Daylesford, Senga, Nehosho, Kopje, Cowford Park, Lingfield, Athlone, Riverside, Harben Park, Adelide Park, KMP, Thornhill Airbase and Windsor Park.
“In G3 there is Mkoba 7, 12, 13, 16, 18, 20, Woodlands and Paradise Park. G4 we have Mkoba 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18, 20, Woodlands and Paradise Park, Senga, Daylesford, Windsor Park, Nashville, Ivene, Lundi Park, Town, Southview, Southdowns, Athlone, Ascot, Mambo, Mtapa, Clifton Park, Claremont Park while G5 has Mkoba 14, 15, 19,” reads part of the schedule.
GCC spokesperson Mr Manford Gambiza called on residents and companies to bear with council during this period.
“They should use the available water sparingly. They should get to know their times when water will be available so that they get the precious liquid. There is a need also for them to practice hygienic ways of storing the water.
“In the event of looking for water from alternative sources such as boreholes, open surface water bodies, wells and water trucking, residents are encouraged to treat the water at the point of consumption by either boiling the water and storing it in a narrow mouthed container to reduce contamination or by water disinfectants and observing the dilution rates and reaction time,” he said.
Ms Gwatipedza said: “It is the beginning so we are open for suggestions with the aim of improving equity in distribution of the scarce commodity. Because of the challenges we need to share what is there.
“As we make suggestions let’s bear in mind that the day when valves are opened for a certain area to receive water there is time also to allow for building of pressure so that it can reach high areas.”