Sep 24, 2012 5:00 PM by Lauren Molenburg
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- City authorities in Zimbabwe's second largest city said Saturday they were appealing to home owners to flush their toilets at a specified time as a way to unblock sewers after days of severe water rationing.
Bulawayo City Council has asked its more than 1 million residents to flush their toilets simultaneously at 7:30 p.m. when water supplies are restored. City officials say "synchronized flushing" is needed to clear waste that would have accumulated in sanitary facilities which will have been affected by days of water outages.
Bulawayo's two main supply dams have been drying up because of drought conditions prevailing in the arid, southwestern part of Zimbabwe, raising fears of worsening water shortages before the rainy season starts in November.
Synchronized flushing was first introduced to Bulawayo two decades ago at the height of a drought that ravaged the southern African nation.
Residents told The Associated Press late Saturday that they weren't "aware" of the new system the city council was proposing. They said the whole issue wasn't properly communicated to them.
Old water pipes have not been replaced in years which saw world record inflation before the formation of a coalition government between longtime President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Power and water outages are common in Zimbabwe following years of political turmoil and economic meltdown.
Civic organizations said any moves by city authorities to solve water and sanitation problems dogging the southwestern province were welcome, but were also awaiting communication from them.