Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
GOVERNMENT has moved to avert a potential water disaster looming in Gweru through mobilising resources and experts to come up with a lasting solution.
Amid indications that the main water supplier, Gwenhoro Dam, is now left with less than 17 percent water and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) is on the verge of decommissioning the main water source, Mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe allayed any fears of a water disaster.
He said residents and the industry should not panic, saying Gweru will not run dry.
In an interview last week, Cllr Makombe said he was glad to announce that Government had started mobilising resources and experts to expeditiously look into the problem and come up with a lasting solution.
He said council, which got US$300 000 funding from the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ), has started identifying possible sites for the drilling of 20 commercial boreholes to ease the water crisis that is bedevilling the city.
"Gweru will not run dry," said Cllr Makombe. "That is the positive message to our residents and industry. This is because Government has already started mobilising resources and experts to make sure we have water. We also got one pump from Unki Mine although it's a bit small.
"We have contractors who will be drilling the boreholes. The water will be put into our reservoirs and water tanks where it will be treated before it is channelled into the existing water pipes.
"The funding is coming from IDBZ and I am sure we will get somewhere. Government is also coming in to assist."
Cllr Makombe urged residents to play their role by conserving water.
"We just urge our people to be patient and bear with us as we try to solve this crisis," he said. "We urge them to use the little water we have sparingly and also help to report any burst pipes within their areas of residence."
The dire situation has been worsened by the local authority's failure to secure over $5 million to purchase new water pumps that could be installed at Amapongobge Dam, which is an alternative water source.
Last year, water woes caused a typhoid outbreak, which left eight residents dead with over 2 000 others requiring medical attention.
The city pumping capacity dropped to 20 megalitres a day against the city's demand of 60 megalitres, which has resulted in areas such as Mkoba 14 and Ascot suburbs going for weeks without water.
Government has also availed $400 000 to the local authority to address the water challenges.
Unki Mine has also leased a water pump to the local authority which will be installed at Amapongobge Dam.
Gweru has been bedevilled by water woes since the beginning of the year.
In May, the local authority announced that the remaining water at Gwenhoro Dam could only sustain the city for only two months.