Urban councils hit by critical water shortages

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Blessings Mashaya

MOST urban councils in the country are facing critical water shortages due to drought, burst pipes, power cuts and shortage of chemicals, Lands, Agriculture and Water, Climate and Rural Settlement minister Anxious Masuka, pictured, has said.

In a ministerial statement presented in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Masuka said the water situation was dire.

“Besides the drought-induced challenge of unavailability of raw water, urban water supply in most cities is facing additional challenges due to limited conveyance, pumping and treatment capacities, shortage of chemicals as well as power outages.

“Gweru water sources are currently at 33 percent full and can supply the city for approximately nine months. Bulawayo water sources are at 22 percent full which can last the City for 11 months.”

He also mentioned Karoi and Kwekwe among some of the urban areas facing water shortages.

“Karoi has five months’ supply left from its combined water from its two supply dams, Blockey and Karoi that are at 25 percent full. Kwekwe, with a combined 25 percent full from the supply dams, has seven months’ supply left at 31 megalitres per day.

“With water levels at 20 percent full from Chesa Dam, Mt Darwin has only 1,5 months’ supply left. Mutawatawa water levels stand at 20 percent full of supply with only less than two months of water supply left.

‘‘The situation also requires pumping from the Ruya River. Mutawatawa water levels stand at 20 percent full of supply with only less than two months of water supply left. The situation also requires pumping from the Ruya River,” the minister said.

According to Masuka, Harare is left with 18 months of water supply at 800 megalitres per day, Chivhu has 11 months of supply at nine megalitres per day and Mutare City has 14 months at 97 megalitres per day.

“Zinwa currently operates and maintains over 530 water supply stations across the country, mainly serving small towns, growth points, service centres, police and defence establishments, prisons, schools and hospitals.

“These 530 stations supply 31,5 million cubic metres per annum (93 percent) against the total demand of 34 million cubic metres per annum of the 32 urban local authorities, Zinwa supplies 20.

As a water management authority, Zinwa also assists local authorities in the discharge of their functions under the Rural District Councils Act and the Urban Councils Act with regard to the development and management of water resources in areas under their jurisdiction and in particular, the provision of potable water and the disposal of waste water in accordance to Zinwa Act, Section 5 (e).

Zinwa is responsible for providing raw water to all sectors as well as supplying treated water to the small local authorities, which do not have the capacity to do so.”

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