By Bulawayo Correspondent
AS Bulawayo’s water woes persist, residents have petitioned President Emmerson Mnangagwa to declare the city’s water situation a state of national disaster.
The city council on Monday escalated its weekly water shedding hours from 108 to 120 per week.
The drastic move has seen some residents going for five days without running water.
In January this year, the local authority also wrote to the lands ministry requesting the water situation to be declared a state of national emergency.
In a letter addressed to the Office of President and Cabinet, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) pleaded with the head of state and government to urgently address the city’s water crisis.
“Section 77 (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe entrenches the right of every citizen to safe , clean and potable water and further saddles the state in peremptory language to take reasonable legislative and other measures within the limits of resources available to it to achieve the progressive realisation of this right.
“We need to bring to the attention of His Excellency that the major dams to the city were built before independence and Bulawayo faces perennial water shortages year in year out,” wrote the residents association’s Coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu.
He said the city’s population has tremendously outgrown the supply capacity of its dams.
“Siltation and the obtaining adverse climatic conditions of this ecological region have also exacerbated the situation. The local authority has done everything within the limits of its resources to no avail,” he said.
Ndlovu said in light of the outbreak of COVID-19, there was even more need for government to act on the city’s precarious water situation.
“BCC has further announced that some areas in Nkulumane and Pumula will not be receiving water until the next rainy season.
“To try and cushion residents during this Covid-19 pandemic, BCC has done its level best to avail water bowsers at critical water points.
“While this will assist in the interim, BPRA foresees a possible disaster if the situation is not immediately addressed. It is against this background that as BPRA, we pray that your esteemed office proactively declares the city’s woes a national disaster,” further wrote Ndlovu to Mnangagwa.
The city’s dire water situation has been worsened by drought which has reduced water supplies in its dams, forcing authorities to decommission two major supply dams.
Some of the city’s councillors are advocating a return to the old traditional practice of conducting rain making rituals in the hope the situation could improve.