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Bulawayo rules out taping into CBD aquifer

by Staff reporter
10 Sep 2020 at 06:56hrs | Views
BULAWAYO City Council has ruled out chances of drawing water from an aquifer underneath the central business district (CBD) citing technicalities as the process involves destroying some buildings.

The city was built on top of an underground "river" known as the Matsheumhlope aquifer.

Bulawayo is in the midst of its worst water shortages since independence in 1980 with residents going for more than a week without the precious liquid.

A latest report of the city's water supplies and action report shows that councillors were agonising over the possibility of taping water from a central business district acquifer without destroying buildings.

"The chairperson councillor Sikhululekile Moyo wanted to know if it was possible to draw water from the aquifer which was said to be in the CBD," council minutes read.

According to the minutes, city engineer Simela Dube ruled out that suggestion.

"It was not possible to get water from the city aquifer because of the buildings. Current drilling technology meant drilling would be vertical and the central business district might have to be relocated; however, basement water was not sufficient to supply significant quantities to the city.

"To get sufficient supply, there was need to drill quite a number of boreholes and it would occupy most of the CBD. The Matsheumhlope aquifer was likely to be contaminated."

The city's water supply dams are at less than 30% capacity with Upper Ncema, Lower Ncema and Umzingwane dams already decommissioned due to low water levels.

A preliminary study of the aquifer undertaken by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research shows groundwater potential of the aquifer from which an "annual yield of 3,5×106 m3 could be obtained."

"The outcome of such an analysis provides for the adoption of a more scientifically-based management policy by the BCC which is charged with that responsibility," the report read in part.

"A management policy for the Matsheumhlope well-field, with the primary objective of optimal utilisation of the groundwater resources without engendering undesirable environmental consequences and meeting other technical and non-technical constraints has been elusive to the BCC."

Source - newsday