Masvingo city authorities on Wednesday took to social media to implore residents to use water sparingly as levels at the city’s sole supplier, Lake Mutirikwi has become critical owing to late inception of rains.
By Chiedza Chigwete in Masvingo
The message, spread via different social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook, urged residents to brace for a tighter water rationing schedule as authorities try to save what is left.
The water levels, which are currently at 7.6%, leave Masvingo with only 2.4% of usable water as authorities will be forced to close down supplies to households and businesses once the level drops to 5%.
Masvingo Mayor Hubert Fidze announced the sad development via WhatsApp, “Please Masvingo residents, take note that Lake Mutirikwi is now sitting at 7.6%. This means that we are left with only about 2.5% for usage. We shall therefore be forced to commence water rationing at any time soon. Let’s use water wisely,” Fidze wrote.
He confirmed the unfolding crisis when attempts were made to authenticate the message, “We are now at a critical situation. In the previous two weeks, the water level was on 9% and if residents don’t save water I am not sure what the situation would be like in the coming fortnight,” Fidze said.
“As of September 21, 2016, the dam level stood at 11.52% compared to 20.41% of the same period last year. The decline translated to an 8.9 decline. So if the City doesn’t use water wisely, we are doomed.”
He added: “All I know is that if the water levels drop down to 5%, authorities will have to cut us from the precious liquid. I cannot comment on what the city consumes per day but I believe the engineer will be able to answer that.”
Fidze however could not immediately state as to how long the remaining water could save the city.
City Engineer, Tawanda Gozo however said he was not yet aware about the latest development as he was out of town.
“I have not yet received the report though I am aware of the looming challenge. I am however not in a position to give any comment since I am not in office,” Gozo said.
Lake Mutirikwi also supplies water to Tongaat Hullet’s Hippo Valley and Triangle Sugar Estates in Chiredzi.
Plans to rehabilitate boreholes which were used to provide water during the 1992 famine are also underway.
Financial problems bedevilling the city have also stalled plans to install an emergency water pump in preparation of such looming challenges as it is said to be costing an estimated US$1.5 billion.
Chiedza ChigweteLake MutirikwiMasvingo City