With Gweru City left with two month’s water supply from its main source Gwenoro dam, management has approached several stakeholders for assistance as it seeks to avert a potential crisis situation, 263Chat has learnt.
Despite its alternative source of water at Amapongokwe dam still more than three quarters full, the city has for the past years failed to secure equipment to extract the precious resource.
Gweru Mayor Councilor Josiah Makombe during a full council meeting on Tuesday reiterated that the City’s main water supply dam Gwenoro is left with just over 18 percent worth of water supply with only two pumps working out of the five.
“Our major source of raw water at Gwenoro dam is now at 18 percent capacity because we did not receive enough rainfall during the last season.
“Council has an alternative source which is Amapongokwe but our pumping capacity at the alternative source is constrained as we are operating on one raw water pump instead of five.
“The City is making frantic efforts for the procurement of two Amapongokwe pumps. The price of a single pump is estimated at plus or minus US$500 000,” he said.
He said the situation in the City has become a disaster.
“This is actually a disaster for the City and we should find ways as a City to overt the problem because people will die if we don’t have a solution,” Councilor Makombe said
Gweru Town Clerk Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza said they are currently engaging stakeholders such as mining companies and banks for assistance to avert the situation.
“We are currently in talks with Unki Mine if they can give or loan us some of their old pumps that we can use as a City and they have promised to lend us one pump. We have also approached to Mimosa Mine for assistance,” she said.
Gwatipedza said the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) has agreed to advance the City with a loan to sink commercial boreholes.
“There is hope to alleviate the water shortage situation after the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) said they could advance the City with a loan to sink 20 commercial boreholes to feed directly into the water supply system despite them not forthcoming with a loan to buy new pumps for Amapongokwe.
“We have done all the necessary surveys and preparations for the sinking of the boreholes,” said Gwatipedza.
She also bemoaned monies being withheld by government which she says could assist the City with procurement of new pumps from alternative water sources.
“The Amapongokwe problem goes as far back as 2017 where we said we need pumping equipment but funds did not permit. We need the PSIP and the 5 percent devolution funds that were promised to us by government but we have so far only recieved RTGS$400 000 from that, so we need the $5 million promised in the national fiscas towards that,” she said.
Councilor Albert Chirau from ward 11 however shot down efforts by the City boss Mrs Gwatipedza saying going around seeking for assistance is not the mandate of the Town Clerk but that of the City Mayor.
“It is not the mandate of the T.C. to go around begging but that of council, which is the Mayor; we were elected and represent the people and I am very disappointed by this.
“Why can’t we use bush tactics to overt this crisis and find ways to extract water from Amapongokwe which are not expensive instead of talking of these millions,” said Councilor Chirau.
Earlier this year, the City management had announced that it had enough water supply from Gwenoro to last the season but residents were later shocked to hear that the dam was drying up and will be decommissioned by August 2019.
Ward 3 Councilor, Doubt Ncube, expressed concern over the lack of seriousness by the relevant committee responsible for monitoring the water situation.
“The committee should take us serious on this because we might say we are left with 18 percent water and we wake up tomorrow and they say there is no more water,” Ncube