Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Municipal Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council has failed to provide adequate water to its residents who are set to further endure two days per week without the commodity, despite the local authority indicating that it will do away with water shedding following heavy rains received this year.
In February the city’s Engineering Services Director, Engineer Simela Dube was quoted as saying the city has enough water to last until the next rainy season without the need for water shedding. However, residents have continued to go for days without water supplies.
Initially, council attributed that to delays in the completion of rehabilitation works at Criterion Water Works and the Ncema/ Fernhill booster pumps. With the commissioning of the two major projects the local authority claimed it would give the city between 170 megalitres and 180 megalitres of water a day, which is enough to supply the city without any need for water shedding, according to council reports.
However, the local authority has since shifted the blame to power surges at their pump stations which has seen their reservoirs not reaching the optimum levels. Responding to questions from Sunday News, BCC corporate communications manager Mrs Nesisa Mpofu was non-committal on when the water shedding schedule will come to an end, instead saying they were trying to stabilise their service reservoirs.
“The City of Bulawayo is currently implementing the 48 hours water shedding programme. Bulawayo City Council is working on stabilising the service reservoirs which were also affected by a power surge that occurred on Saturday, 20 March 2021. The power surge resulted in damages to a transformer and the motor of one of the clear water pumps that feeds the Tuli Reservoir. The Tuli Reservoir further supplies the Rifle Range, and 6J Reservoirs. The City of Bulawayo is currently working on measures to resume and normalise pumping from Ncema Water Works,” said Mrs Mpofu.
BCC has recommissioned the three dams with the latest statistics showing that the city dams are at a combined 63 percent full after heavy rains that have been received this rainy season. Meanwhile, the local authority has said problems at the Tuli Reservoir have seen one of their council owned schools, Mahatshula Primary being affected, with residents revealing that at one-point pupils were requested to bring water when coming to school.
Mrs Mpofu however, revealed that in the case that a school has no water council makes efforts to supply water using bowsers.
The Government under the Second Republic has availed funding to finish the Gwayi-Shangani Dam which is the permanent solution to the Bulawayo water problems. In February, President Mnangagwa officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo water pipeline which will convey water to the city when the construction of the dam is completed. The government also funded the drilling of boreholes at Nyamandlovu to boost water supply to the city.