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taps tightened as water shortage bites
Ray Ndlovu, Mail and Guardian (SA)
October 12, 2012
woes are set to mount, with its city council indicating that it
will be extending water restrictions from three days a week to four.
The move comes
just two months after the council introduced restrictions in an
effort to preserve dwindling water supplies following the decommissioning
of the Lower and Upper Ncema dams.
city council also made international headlines last month when it
introduced a synchronised toilet-flushing programme on weekends,
aimed at unblocking the city's sewer system after prolonged water
in the city remains at 123 000 cubic metres a day, which the council
wants to reduce to 93000 cubic metres. The rainy season is not expected
until early November and although the meteorological services department
has forecast normal rains, local officials have indicated that,
should there be a delay, a humanitarian disaster may unfold.
In the meantime,
the minister of water resources, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, has refused
to bow to pressure from non-governmental organisations, councillors
and residents to declare a state of emergency. Nkomo has said water
shortages are not unique to Bulawayo and are prevalent in other
parts of the country such as Harare and Chitungwiza, where they
have led to outbreaks of cholera and typhoid.
that we have not yet reached that critical stage. I have got a document
from some members of Parliament asking me to declare Bulawayo a
state of disaster, but we have to assess the implications first.
We have problems in other cities where the situation is worse than
here," he said.
that Bulawayo's water crisis is shrouded in politics and does not
stem from mismanagement. A lasting solution to the city's water
woes, they say, would be to complete the long-stalled Matabeleland
Zambezi Water Trust project, which would draw water from the Zambezi
River. Throughout the Matabeleland region, President Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF is largely blamed for dragging its feet over implementing
that the water crisis may tilt the scales against Zanu-PF in the
next elections, because it remains an emotive issue.
Morgan Tsvangirai used the occasion of the MDC's anniversary celebrations
to play up the mounting anger against Zanu-PF.
crisis in Bulawayo did not start with the MDC, but it is an issue
that has been present for the past 30 years and Zanu-PF has failed
to address it. They [Zanu-PF] are the ones to blame," Tsvangirai
Thaba Moyo said this week that the local authority was considering
drawing water from the Zambezi using bowsers. The water would then
be ferried to Bulawayo by train. Critics have dismissed this proposal
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