BY Stephen Chadenga

Gweru City Council has announced plans to decommission its major supplier, Gwenhoro Dam, by October as the water source is left with only six months’ supplies, a senior council official has said.

Acting finance director Owen Masimba said the local authority needed US$6 million for water pumps and other equipment to switch to Amapongokwe Dam for supplies in the event Gwenoro ceases to operate.

“Council faces an unprecedented water crisis with Gwenoro Dam left with less than six months supply and there is need for at least an investment of US$6 million to switch to Amapongokwe Dam for water supply,” Masimba told a stakeholders first quarter budget review meeting on Monday.

“We expect to decommission Gwenoro by October and the situation is so dire and it’s a big emerging threat to the livelihoods of Gweru. At the moment, council has also availed resources to drill additional boreholes as a stop-gap measure for alleviating water challenges in troubled areas while mobilising funding for capacitation of Gwenoro and Amapongokwe waterworks.”

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Masimba said the $6 million would be used to construct a new treatment plant which would be used to process water drawn from Amapongokwe.
Reports indicate that the water levels at Gwenoro were also affected by siltation, but Masimba said it was not in the jurisdiction of council to de-siltate the dam.

“Yes we have a serious problem of siltation at Gwenoro, but that is the obligation of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to de-siltate the dam,” he said.

Meanwhile, Masimba said as at March 31 debtors owed council a total of $64 269 709, with most ratepayers not honouring their obligations.

He said the local authority would soon take legal action against defaulters and urged residents to approach council with payment plans to clear their debts.

“Although as council we are reluctant to take that route, very soon demand letters, summons and writs of execution would be sent to defaulters,” he said.