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Water rationing torments residents

Bulawayo– Residents in high density suburbs of the city are crying foul over the thirty-six hour water shedding regime introduced by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) over a week ago, saying it torments their livelihoods.

City fathers had to adopt a water rationing scheme due to the dwindling water levels in dams that supply the country’s second largest city.

In a statement released last month, the City Town Clerk, Christopher Dube, said water rationing has been “necessitated by low levels at the city’s water supply reservoirs and at the Umzingwane dam.”

He added that plans were in place to ensure a return to normal water supplies.

“In a bid to manage water supply this shedding will initially run for 36 hours a week, citywide, and will be reviewed weekly until the situation normalizes,” part of the statement read.

The statement was accompanied by a schedule with cutting and re-connection times varying from one residential area to the other.

Residents however say the council is failing to conform to the proposed schedule with water cuts and re-connections made haphazardly.

“According to the schedule, in my area water is supposed to be cut on Tuesday morning and reconnected the next evening but this isn’t happening accordingly. We have cuts and re-connections at unscheduled times and this is giving us a hard time managing our reserved water,” Mrs Moyo from Old Magwegwe said.

In some suburbs the shedding is reportedly lasting for as long as 90 hours instead of the initially proposed 36 hours and the recently revised 48 hours, a situation that has left residents appalled.

Mr Mathuthu from Gwabalanda expressed his anger at the situation saying long water shedding hours are a risk to people’s health.

“Quite frankly BCC is playing games with people’s health. How do you expect people to go for five days without the most basic of all needs. They (BCC) have to respect us because we pay bills and rates so we don’t deserve such treatment,” Mathuthu fumed.

Mathuthu is one of many residents who say they are living in fear of a health danger.

“Surely a health hazard is looming. People are now using the bush as their toilets because they can’t use proper toilets and what makes it worse is that it’s raining.”

“Soon we will have feaces flowing into our yards. There was a cholera outbreak in Harare just recently and it may as well befall us. Authorities need to come up with plans to ensure that the city gets enough water always,” he added.

A short tour by the crew of this publication revealed that some residents now rely on borehole water whilst others fetch it from burst pipes.

Some young children in Old Magwegwe were getting rain water from a galley nearby a flowing sewage.

Water shortages are expected to last until a downpour that will increase water levels in Umzingwane, Upper and Lower Ncema dams.

Bulawayo is still awaiting the implementation of the Matebelaland Zambezi Water Project that will see the city getting its water from the Zambezi river.

Authorities say, if implemented, the project will end the perennial water shortages affecting the city of kings.


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