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Residents implore govt to declare Bulawayo water crisis national disaster

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By Bulawayo Correspondent


BULAWAYO residents have called on government to urgently declare the city’s water crisis a national disaster.

The country’s second largest city is in the midst of an unprecedented water crisis following the recent theft of two kilometres electricity supply cables at its water reservoirs.

Following the theft, coupled with other existing challenges, the local authority has moved to suspend a tight water-shedding programme in areas supplied by Magwegwe and Criterion reservoirs for two weeks due to the challenges.

The unfortunate developments have resulted in some parts of the city going for more than a week without the necessity.

Through their representative Bulawayo United Residents Association (BURA), residents have made a passionate call to government to declare the situation a national disaster so as to pave way for a concerted approach to resolving the crisis.

“We are appealing to the government to declare this (water crisis) a disaster which really needs urgent attention because our fear is that the water crisis in the city will steer up other diseases,” said BURA chairperson Winos Dube in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu also blamed council for the city’s water woes.

“We cannot abdicate responsibility for our present and our future on people who cannot plan. We cannot trust this council to extricate ourselves from this crisis that we face,” said Ndlovu.

The BPRA coordinator said although there was a draught this year, the city could have done much better to prevent the current situation.

“We know that Bulawayo received minimal rainfall but poor planning and misplaced priorities on the part of council has accelerated the adverse effects of the climate change hence the situation we face,” said Ndlovu.

Following water distress calls from the local authority, in May this year, the government, through the Local Government ministry responded by hiring two Engineering consultants, Zanu PF Midlands provincial chairperson Daniel Mackenzie Ncube and Paul Kruger to make their own second opinions on the water crisis.

Presenting their findings early this year, the consultancy argued that the city has got enough water from the remaining three dams, but the major challenge was on how to harness the water.

The city council has however insisted the city does not have enough water.

Once hailed as one of the best managed local authorities in the country, the city is currently experiencing an acute shortage of water which has resulted in authorities at City Hall decommissioning three of its major water supply dams.

These are Umzingwane, Upper Ncema and Lower Ncema.

The other remaining three dams are Insiza Mayfair, Inyankuni and Mtshabezi.