Bulawayo has abundant aquifer water supplies under its sprawling Central Business District (CBD), but the authorities are failing to harness the precious liquid due to fears buildings will collapse.
The city is experiencing an acute shortage of water which has resulted in authorities decommissioning three of its major water supply dams namely; Umzingwane, Upper Ncema and Lower Ncema.
The other remaining three dams are Insiza Mayfair, Inyankuni and Mtshabezi.
The city's water woes have also been worsened by the recent theft of electricity supply cables at its water reservoirs.
However, city engineering services director, Simela Dube told councillors recently the CBD aquifer water cannot be harnessed without affecting economic activities in the city centre, the commercial hub of Bulawayo and surrounding regions.
"It was not possible to get water from the city aquifer because of the buildings. Current drilling technology meant drilling would be vertical and the Central Business District might have to be relocated," Dube said in response to a question from Pumula councillor, Sikhululekile Moyo, during a full council meeting.
The city engineer said to get access to sufficient water supplies, there was a need to drill a number of boreholes in the CBD.
Dube also raised concerns said the aquifer was also likely to be highly contaminated. Water experts have indicated there is plenty of untapped water underneath the city's CBD.
It is believed the city is built on an underground Matsheumhlope river which forms the basis of the aquifer.