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Bulawayo left with 20 months water supplies

by Staff reporter
04 May 2012 at 00:16hrs | 1610 Views
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has failed to account for more than 28 percent of water consumption amid reports that the city is left with 20 months' water supplies from its five major dams.

According to the latest council report, Bulawayo's supply dams, Insiza, Inyankuni, Lower Ncema, Umzingwane and Upper Ncema were collectively 50,2 percent full as of 27 March.

The five dams held 182 156 068 cubic metres of water, 19,7 percent less than last year in the same period.

"The city's average consumption rate for March was 130 524 cubic metres and the trend shows a decrease from the previous month of February.

"No disturbances on pumping were experienced as there were no power interruptions due to load-shedding during the month," reads part of the council report from the engineering services department.

In the period between February and March, the city recorded a drawdown of 7 558 125 cubic metres.

"Based on the possible maximum monthly drawdown of about 9 800 000 cubic metres, the expected depletion period translates to approximately 20 months.

"This does not take into account siltation that has increased due to gold panning activities, and these estimates are due to missing gauge plates.

"However, most of the available water is held in Insiza Dam and cannot be abstracted at the required rate due to pipeline constraints," read the council report.

The report read that Bulawayo now has four out of five operational dams after Upper Ncema was decommissioned on 21 March.

"The gates were opened so that most of the water could be stored downstream at Lower Ncema since Upper Ncema has a larger surface area and thus prone to higher evaporational losses.

"There were no significant inflows recorded during the month with the current rainy season approaching the end," read part of the report.

According to the report, the level of unaccounted water differs month by month and this is attributed to factors that include incomplete meter reading cycle and the ageing water meters throughout the city, as "70 percent are well over 20 years old (and) their accuracy is compromised".

The city council also expressed concern over increasing incidence of leaks.

"The incidence of leaks continues to be high due to ageing city's water reticulation system especially in the older suburbs where steel piping is pre-dominant.

"The engineering department attended to 71 reports on burst pipes and 534 reports on leaks," read part of the report.

Source - water
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