Bulawayo faces a critical water crisis with a 120-hour immediate water shutdown announced by Mayor Coltart this week.
Coltart, speaking at a press conference on Thursday, cited plummeting water levels due to low rainfall and climate change.
“Our residents have been experiencing serious water challenges over the past weeks, with some experiencing days of no running water and some experiencing weeks.
“This has now been made worse by the weather conditions that we are experiencing.
He said this has brought the city into a drought situation.
“Our Engineering department has advised us that currently our dams are at 43 percent capacity.
“Somehow these figures are misleading because most of our water is being held at Insiza and Mtshabezi.
“We cannot draw sufficient quantities of water from those two dams because of the deficiencies of the pipeline.”
Coltart added that the continued power cuts have worsened the situation.
They have affected the two main reservoirs, Tuli and Criterion.
“Criterion, which is our main reservoir, serves as a buffer for the city because if it’s in full capacity, it can supply water even when there are power cuts.
“But because of continued power cuts, it (Criterion) has reached its limits.
“The Engineering department has explained to the councillors of the challenges and advised that we increase the delay of water supply to 120 hours.”
Coltart said this is designed with particular concern for the festive season which is likely to result in more people coming for holidays.
“We understand that this is going to cause immense hardship, especially to those in high-density suburbs.
Coltart said there is currently no option but to increase the water-shedding hours.
Council has since written to the government so that the issue is addressed and declare Bulawayo a water crisis city.
“We are confident that the government will respond urgently this time.
“The situation has worsened from what it was two years ago when a similar request was made.
“When we look at water levels and power cuts, we really need support to address this problem.”