Bulawayo residents have implored the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to drill more boreholes in the city to reduce the movement of people during the 21-day lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
This comes at a time when the local authority has revised its water shedding programme from 96 hours to 108-hour weekly, as water levels at the city’s supply dams continue to dwindle. Bulawayo dam levels are currently at 32 percent following poor rainfalls during the 2019/2020 rainy season.
BCC has already warned those living in high lying areas to brace for the worst as they might end up receiving water through water bowsers if the shedding exceeds 48 hours.
Speaking to CITE, Alpheus Tshuma, a resident from Luveve said the 108-hour water shedding defeats the purpose of the 21-day lockdown.
“The 108-hour water shedding programme will worsen the situation as it is now we are under a 21-day lockdown and we will be forced to leave our homes to search for water,” said Tshuma.
“There is a need to drill more boreholes in schools, churches so that residents don’t walk long distance looking for water”.
Tshuma also said its high time BCC brought in the central government to deal with water woes in the City.
“It is now an issue that is beyond residents and the local authority now has to bring in the national government because they are the ones who introduced Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) that is responsible for overseeing the bulk water supply, but ZINWA is also failing looking at this critical time when we are facing the drought season,” he said.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) Communication Officer, Kelebone Khabo said it is high time the local authority seriously lobbied the government for alternative interventions.
“While we cannot escape the fact that Bulawayo dams have reached a critical level, we need to see what BCC is doing in terms of coming up with a plan so that people continue to have water. Water shedding will only help to preserve the little that we have but what the city now need is to have more human interventions in terms of availing water to the residents, so we start to talk about boreholes,” said Khabo.
“Its high time they seriously lobby the government in terms of availing of funds and source other funds from world African bank to try and make sure that people have water. We cannot be waiting for the rainy season, for the past two years we have suffered a drought in Bulawayo which has really affected our water sources so for us to say we are going to wait for the next rainy season to have water is far-fetched and we are not certain if that is going to happen.”
In addition, Bulawayo Residents Association (BURA) chairperson, Winos Dube said the increased water shedding will make it difficult for residents especially during the lockdown period.
“We have been talking strongly about the issue of water shedding, I even spoke to the Mayor to say why don’t they suspend this water shedding during the lockdown period and he argued that if they do so, by December we wont be having water,” said Dube.
“This issue of increased water shedding period is worrying us especially as we are currently under lockdown, this now means people will be moving around and meeting in boreholes looking for water, Bulawayo is just going through a difficult time,” he said.
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)