Byo residents propose $1bn budget to alleviate water challenges

Bulawayo residents have proposed that the government allocate a budget of ZWL$1 billion to solve the ongoing water crisis in the city.

These submissions were made during the 2021 national budget consultations by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance, Economic Development Goals Committee in Bulawayo on Monday.

Last year a budget of ZWL$311 million had been allocated to local authorities’ water and sanitation projects.

The consultations which commenced Monday will be held nationwide until October 16 with strict adherence to stipulated Covid-19 regulations.

According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, not more than 100 people will be allowed into the venues and where need be, some of the hearings will be conducted virtually.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) spokesperson, Kelebone Khabo, said the water situation in the city needs a permanent solution which includes construction of more dams.

The country’s second largest city is currently enduring a 144-hour-water-shedding schedule which the local authority is struggling to adhere to due to scarcity of water resulting in some residents spending weeks without water.

Khabo noted that BPRA recently wrote a letter to President Mnangagwa imploring for intervention on the water situation.

Bulawayo Residents Association (BURA) representative Justice Jamela said the government should avail funds improve the water supply as the city is continuously growing.

“The city keeps growing and people keep building houses. This becomes a strain on the already burdened local authority to avail water for everyone. Residents are now relying on sewer water to flush their toilets. This is a time bomb especially now in the face of Covid-19 which requires extreme hygiene. We risk contracting more diseases as residents of Bulawayo,” he said.

Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Judith Ncube, explained that efforts were being made to alleviate the water situation.

She noted that five boreholes have been drilled for residents in Babourfields at Mpilo Hospital and that the Epping Forest water project in Nyamandlovu is also nearing completion.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)

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