BY SILAS NKALA BULAWAYO residents have petitioned the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) over water shortages, demanding to know when the Gwayi-Shangani Dam would be completed in order to address the perennial water problems in the city. A total of 83 residents affiliated to Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) and the Water Action Group in Bulawayo, on Monday, wrote individual petitions to Zinwa raising issues pertaining to water rights. The Water Action Group is currently engaged in a social media protest over water shortages, which started on January 25, and is scheduled to end on March 22. The petitions were part of the #MondayWaterAction and the #StandUP4WaterRights campaign. The residents demanded to know why Bulawayo’s supply dams were still below 50% when other dams in other parts of the country were full. The residents also wanted to know when Zinwa would complete some of the dams that were supposed to feed Bulawayo’s reservoirs. MIHR co-ordinator Khumbulani Maphosa said the petitions had since been submitted to Zinwa. “We urge Zinwa officials and the ministry concerned to take this exercise seriously because they are public entities and the concerns of the public should be addressed,” Maphosa said. “Public accountability is a constitutional mandate of every public institution and public official, and as the MIHR we will follow them up until they respond,” he said. The petitions came at a time Bulawayo’s City supply dams received significant inflows after the heavy rains. However, despite improved dam levels, the Bulawayo City Council is still water-shedding for 144 hours, which has seen residents going for weeks without tap water. The residents insisted that Zinwa should provide water through its medium-to-long-term bulk water provision strategy. They also want the government to devolve bulk water rights to local authorities. Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga had not responded to questions sent to her by the time of going to print last night. However, last month, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo said the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project was 40% complete, adding that he expected it to be completed this year.