Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has directed the Ministry of Finance to urgently invest towards the rehabilitation of water and sewer infrastructure in the face of acute water shortages across the country, a Cabinet Minister revealed yesterday.
The President’s directive comes as Bulawayo is reeling under a water crisis that has gone for 10 days and expected to continue in the next two weeks.
The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is implementing major rehabilitation works under the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) funded by the African Development Bank.
The BWSSIP programme is meant to improve municipal water supply and sanitation services in the city.
Addressing journalists at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex in Bulawayo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing July Moyo said the President also wants to see the modernisation of old townships across the country.
“We have a challenge in the country in terms of water and as Government we want to do everything that we can to avert the situation.
“The President has said, let’s attend to this, the question of water shortages, the question of sewerage which is the sanitation that is waste water that is polluting all our rivers and in some cases polluting all our sources of water,” he said.
“The only way we can do it is to invest, there has not been an investment in our water situations, in our sewerage situations by our councils and Government has to step in and assist either directly or through the councils so that we can restore normalcy and the President has directed that we do that as Government because it’s an emergency situation, it’s not just Bulawayo, it’s most of the cities, most of the towns and even growth points.”
Minister Moyo said over the years there hasn’t been any investment in the water and sewerage as well as electricity infrastructure.
“That’s why in Bulawayo or in other cities you have places that are built up and there are people living there but there is no electricity, there are no roads and all that is infrastructure and through the ministry of finance we think that this matter will be addressed urgently,” said Minister Moyo.
“When we address it we want to assure residents that we will also be addressing old townships like Makokoba where we cannot continue to have our people live in that sorry situation and that’s why we have a programme that government has approved of urban renewal and so when we are asking for infrastructure investment we are looking at those townships that have become so old.”
According to our sister paper The Herald, Zinwa statistics show that dam levels have declined, but most urban dams have enough water to take residents to the next rainy season. As at July 8, the national dam levels had dropped to 63, 2 percent.
This is a decline of 18 percent when compared to the 81, 2 percent recorded in the same week last year.
Manyame Catchment had a dam level average of 84, 8 percent, Gwayi 56,6 percent, Mazowe 89,2 percent, Mzingwane 57,7 percent, Runde 53,2 percent, Sanyati 66,6 percent and Save 78,3 percent.
Harare, satellite towns and Chinhoyi are left with 25, 4 months’ supply, while Masvingo, Marondera, Kadoma, Rusape, Zaka all have 30 months’ supply of water.
Bulawayo is left with 12 months’ supply, Mutare 14 months, Gweru 14 months, Kwekwe 19 months, Chegutu 21 months and Gwanda 11 months.
Beitbridge is left with two months’ supply although there is a huge water supply back up from Zhovhe Dam which is 74,9 percent full , Mt Darwin five months; Figtree, Shurugwi and Karoi six months and Mvurwi 10 months..