The Zimbabwean government has earmarked 13 million U.S. dollars to address water woes facing the second largest city, Bulawayo, following consecutive droughts that have dried up reservoirs the city depends on.

Bulawayo Town Clerk Christopher Dube told Xinhua on Wednesday that government has committed to release funds for the city’s emergency water works.

The 13 million dollars will fund Bulawayo’s short-term water projects to avert a looming disaster in the city, which has a population of about 650,000, according to a 2012 census.

Bulawayo, which lies 360 km southwest of the capital Harare, is facing one of the worst water crises in years that has seen some residents going for months without receiving running water, forcing them to get water from unprotected sources.

Water shortage in Bulawayo has hampered the city’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 since residents have to spend long hours queuing to fetch water from boreholes and water tankers.

In April, the government released 10.6 million Zimbabwe dollars (424,000 U.S. dollars) for the rehabilitation of boreholes in the city.

As part of long-term solution to address Bulawayo’s perennial water challenges, the government has so far channelled 122 million U.S. dollars toward the construction of Gwayi-Shangani Dam in the Matebeleland North province.

Construction of the dam, which will be the third largest inland dam in the country, is being carried out by China International Water and Electric Corporation. Enditem

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