The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says it cannot suspend its water-shedding programme in the wake of the fast-spreading Coronavirus at a time when the city`s supply dam levels remain critically low.
The city will be without water for three days starting today (Saturday) as the local authority upgrades its water and sewer reticulation systems at Criterion Water Treatment Plant.
As a preventative measure against contracting the Coronavirus, people have been urged to regularly wash their hands with water and soap.
Speaking at a press briefing on the city’s state of preparedness against Coronavirus on Friday, the City`s Divisional Environmental Health Officer, Patrick Ncube said the city cannot suspend water shedding.
“It’s unfortunate that the city finds itself in a position where we have to shed water and I believe this is something known to everyone that our water situation is in a precarious situation right now. As we speak the water we have is only 34 percent of combined total capacity for the city. Already we are towards the end of March around the time, the rainy season comes to an end,” explained the health officer.
He said whenever water-shedding was effected, announcements and timetables were made public to residents.
“This gives them an opportunity to store water and we urge that water be stored in clean containers that don’t become contaminated. You can even hand wash from those containers, as some have taps. After washing, you can even swab the tap with disinfectant. Stopping water shedding is not possible as we can’t provide 24/7 supply of water,” Dr Ncube noted.
The Council`s spokesperson, Nesisa Mpofu, added that the work at the treatment plant fell within the water-shedding timetable.
“This Friday, we opened water for all areas so they can store for three days, which are the days of the shedding exercise. The assumption is within those three days, you would have stored water so it doesn’t change the manner in which we have been operating,” she said and appealed to residents to continue practising hygiene methods put forward by health experts.