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'Bulawayo water woes to ease by monthend'

by Staff reporter
17 May 2020 at 09:21hrs | Views
WATER problems bedevilling Bulawayo are expected to ease before the end of the month as the Government has moved swiftly to augment supplies through rehabilitating more boreholes at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer.

Addressing journalists after a tour of the Nyamandlovu Aquifer Project yesterday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the Government through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) was at an advanced stage of completing works at Nyamandlovu Rochester where an additional 15 boreholes are being rehabilitated to complement the 20 boreholes that are pumping water.

"As Central Government we are determined to work with the City of Bulawayo using our structures such as Zinwa and other structures to make sure the water capacity and supply is upgraded so that the city can receive the water it requires. One of the sites is this Nyamandlovu Aquifer, which is basically two sides, the Epping Forest side as well as the Rochester side. On the Rochester side it's much more developed and we allocated $10,6 million for the drilling of additional 15 boreholes that will make it 35 boreholes. In all we would like to take it to 40 (boreholes) and that would give us about 10 megalitres (ML) a day," said Prof Ncube.

Currently Nyamandlovu Rochester is pumping about four mega litres of water a day to Bulawayo with about 10 to 15 percent being utilised by surrounding farms for irrigation purposes. The Bulawayo City Council has since last year decommissioned Upper Ncema and Umzingwane dams and last week Lower Ncema. The decommissioning of Lower Ncema means only 60 to 65 ML of raw water per day would be available for the city from three supply dams and Nyamandlovu Aquifer.

However, the rehabilitation of the 15 boreholes at Rochester Nyamandlovu is likely to improve the supplies to above 70 ML. The city requires an average of 155 ML on daily basis. Prof Ncube said the first phase of the borehole rehabilitation project was expected to be completed by the end of this month, with work on the second phase being expected to be carried out immediately after that.

"The first phase (Rochester Nyamandlovu), which will see the rehabilitation of 15 boreholes will be done by end of May, which is pretty fast. I'm very impressed by the speed and then the next thing is that they will submit a budget for this Epping Forest leg of the project. We need to see what the budget is and we are ready to support that as well, because we know that the two together is what is required to make this facility work optimal and be able to supply the required amount of water to the City of Bulawayo," he said.

Prof Ncube noted that the rehabilitation of boreholes at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer was an interim measure of improving water supplies in the city, which had deteriorated to appalling levels as the country faces its second consecutive drought.

"There is also Mtshabezi Dam, where again capacity will be boosted as well as increasing the water supply from that facility, we also have Inyankuni as well. The engineers have come up with all their plans, they know exactly what to do . . . but we are clear as to what needs to be done. Right now, we are just looking at the budgets, we will need to allocate (the funds) so that we can move with speed and solve the water projects for Bulawayo and make the city great again," he said.

As part of addressing Bulawayo's perennial water challenges the Government has so far channelled US$122 million under the Public Sector Investment Programme towards the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, which has been viewed as one of the long-lasting solutions to the water woes.

Prof Ncube said as part of ensuring the timely maintenance of the water infrastructure at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer the Government was considering coming up with a water management account where part of the rates that would be paid by consumers to the local authority would be directly channelled to that facility.

"We can create a water management account so that the water that leaves Zinwa and is evacuated into the City of Bulawayo and then sold to users who pay user charges, those user charges should be paid back into an account that is linked to Zinwa. So that it can replenish the resources that would have come through and use them to maintain the boreholes going forward because maintenance becomes an issue after a while, when Zinwa runs out of money because money never comes back from the ultimate buyers of the water . . . ," he said.

Source - sundaynews