Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
A WATER crisis is looming in Gweru as the city’s two main supply dams are fast drying up and this has forced the council to tighten water rationing.
Amapongokwe Dam constructed in 1960 is 38 percent full while Gwenoro Dam built in 1984 is at 17 percent.
Suburbs such as Mkoba One, 15, 18 and 19, Ascot Infill and Harben Park are going for weeks without water.
The development has forced residents to collect water from unsafe sources such as council swimming pools.
In an interview yesterday, Gweru City Council (GCC) public relations officer Ms Vimbai Chingwaramusee said there was no end in sight for the water challenges bedevilling the city.
She said Gweru was experiencing serious water shortages which were caused by a number of factors that include low water levels due to prolonged and recurrent droughts, power outages, aging and obsolete water reticulation system. “The city is experiencing water challenges due to continuous technical faults at Gwenoro water works. Our technical team has been on the ground to solve the challenge. It is our hope that by tomorrow all will be well,” said Ms Chingwaramusee.
She said the council was looking for money to buy three high lift water pumps for Amapongokwe Dam to increase pumping capacity.
The water pumps and pipes were installed in 1971 and have not been replaced ever since.
More than 40 percent of treated water is lost through leakages because of the aging pipes.
Ms Chingwaramuse said the council’s financial situation was dire because residents, Government departments and companies were not paying their bills.
“We are owed approximately $85 million and this has adversely affected service delivery. We cannot improve services because we do not have money. We are even failing to buy PPE for our Covid-19 frontline workers such as nurses. We are relying more on donations which is not good for a big council like ours,” she said.
Ms Chingwaramusee urged residents to refrain from collecting water from unprotected sources.
Mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe said residents should use water sparingly so that the little water left in dams can take them to the next rainy season.
The council constructed an elevated water tank at the edge of Village 14 which was supposed to supply water to suburbs on high ground such as Mkoba 15, 19 and 20. The tank was functional for a short period before it broke down.