• Since November, the drought-stricken city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe has imposed 96-hour long dry periods for residential water customers.
  • Shortages of hydropower-produced electricity also have affected the city's ability to pump water from the dams.

Families in the southern Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo are going up to four days without running water as drought dries the dams the city depends on, city council officials said.

The city has since late November imposed 96-hour dry periods for residential water customers, though industrial and business users have continued to receive service, according to the Bulawayo City Council.

An extended drought has reduced supplies of stored water, forcing the city to decommission two of its major supply dams, said Nesisa Mpofu, a spokeswoman for the council.

Shortages of hydropower-produced electricity also have affected the city's ability to pump water from the dams, she said.

"Out of six dams, Bulawayo now remains with four water sources," she said.

The four-day water outages - up from three days previously - have spurred widespread local efforts to store more water and to find alternative sources.

Arnold Batirai, a councillor for Nketa, a suburb of Bulawayo, said many residents in his area had access to alternative water sources such as wells or water supply trucks provided by the council.

But he acknowledged that not all borehole wells were still functioning, while shortages of fuel had affected water truck deliveries in some areas.

"Despite these challenges, we do encourage residents to conserve water and report burst pipes or water leakages," he said.