Bulawayo City Council (BCC) could be forced to re-introduce water rationing soon as one of its major supply dams, Umzingwane Dam faces decommissioning due to low inflows.
BCC corporate communications officer Bongiwe Ngwenya revealed that the dam was initially set for decommissioning on 31 March but this was postponed after minimal rains were experienced in its catchment recently.
The latest council report shows that the decommissioning of the dam will result in a reduction of daily water use by 35 megalitres a day. Reads the report:
Umzingwane Dam was projected to be de-commissioned by 31 March 2022 if no significant rainfall occurs that would result in sizeable inflows to the dam.
The decommissioning would result in reduced available abstraction by 35 megalitres a day thus affecting total available raw water for delivery to Criterion.
Whereas Criterion would receive more than 110 megalitres a day of raw water and produce an average of 100 megalitres for the city reservoir levels to be stable and ensure continuous water supply.
In the event that the decommissioning of Umzingwane occurs, the department proposed an incremental shedding regime to be determined at the time of decommissioning vis-à-vis the would be remaining available abstraction from other dams.
According to the latest dam statistics, as supplied by BCC, in total the dams are 58.12 per cent full.
Insiza Mayfair, whose carrying capacity is 173.4 million cubic metres, has the most water 78.1 per cent full.
Mtshabezi, with a carrying capacity of 51.9 million cubic metres is 75.67 per cent full.
Lower Ncema, with a carrying capacity of 18.2 million cubic metres is 75.39 per cent full.
Inyankuni with a carrying capacity of 80.7 million cubic metres is 51.9 per cent full.
Upper Ncema which has a carrying capacity of 45.5 million cubic metres is 14.58 per cent full.
Umzingwane which has a carrying 44.6 million cubic metres is 8.3 per cent full.
After Umzingwane, Upper Ncema is expected to be the next dam to be decommissioned with its depletion date set for 18 August 2022.