On Tuesday 28 April 2020, social movement Better Bulawayo Initiative partnered with Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights to conduct an online citizens’ Ideas Café to gather residents’ views and ideas on alleviating the water crisis situation in Bulawayo. The Café was attended by the Bulawayo City Council Future Water Supplies Committee Chair Councilor Sikhululekile Moyo.
The issues that were suggested by the residents included:
- Lobbying the government of Zimbabwe to devolve bulk water rights to Bulawayo City Council so that the council can have the power to construct its own dams without seeking approval from government or ZINWA.
- Attending to water leakages as some of them have been there for a long time and are now a perennial feature. The Council may consider partnering with NUST to develop an application that will be used for identifying, locating and tracking water leakages.
- Expansion of water extraction at Nyamandlovu Aquifer.
- Council to consider water harvesting technics that are aimed at harnessing runoff water which is lost during the rainy season mainly due to tarmac surfaces. This may also entail having bulk reservoirs or storage dams at the edge of the City where runoff water will be diverted into.
- There is need for a joint campaign effort (between BCC and residents) and this campaign effort should consider lessons from other arid areas that have managed to solve their water crisis like Egypt, Botswana and Cape Town.
- Resuscitation, deepening and drilling of more boreholes in the communities of Bulawayo. These boreholes can be solar powered.
- Promoting reusing water.
- Utilizing underground water that flows under the City’s CBD such as at NSSA building and main Edgars building – explore maybe there is an underground river.
- Campaign and lobby for the revival of the Matabeleland – Zambezi Water Project.
- Scooping of current supply dams during the dry season and ensuring that siltation in the catchment areas is managed.
- Council should consider banning the 10 litres toilet cisterns and promote the use of the 4litre or 5 litres high pressure ones which are already being used in hotels.
- Council need to also ban the large water taps and propose smaller water taps that don’t discharge large sums of water at a given time.
- Consider construction of supply dams in Gwayi and Shangani Rivers.
- Consider exploring for more aquifers around the City of Bulawayo including in Matobo District.
- Council should consider legal and human rights ways of compelling people to pay for their water bills.
- Enkwalini water needs to be harvesting and sold for commercial purposes.
- Khami Dam water should NOT BE RECYCLED FOR DOMESTIC USE but can be used for commercial, industrial and agricultural purposes. The money being proposed to be used to recycle Khami dam for domestic use can be used to construct new dams. Moreover, if Khami water is sold for industrial, commercial and agricultural use, it can generate money that will help towards the construction of a new dam.
Better Bulawayo is social movement that campaigns for better service delivery and better citizen participation in Bulawayo. Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights is an independent human rights watchdog that exists to enhance the protection and enjoyment of human rights by vulnerable groups and communities.