Latest News Editor's Choice

News / Local

BCC to charge an additional $1 on residents' water bills

by Staff reporter
07 Sep 2012 at 06:03hrs | Views
THE construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, a long-term solution to Bulawayo's perennial water problems, is at a standstill amid reports that the city council will next year charge residents $1 per month to fund the duplication of the Insiza Dam pipeline.

The duplication of the pipeline is regarded as one of the short-term contingency measures to Bulawayo's water problems while the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is an important component of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP).

Speaking at a Bulawayo City Council 2013 budget consultation meeting yesterday at the Small City Hall, the council's financial director, Mr Kimpton Ndimande, said the council would charge an additional $1 on the residents' water bills with effect from January next year.

He said residents proposed the figure during consultative meetings in different wards.

"The city council will next month notify the residents how long it will take for them to contribute the money towards the project, which is expected to cost $28 million," said Mr Ndimande.

Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Middleton Nyoni said the water situation in the city had reached alarming levels.

He said the council was hoping to harness water from the Nyamandlovu Aquifer to reduce water shedding from the present 72 hours to 48.

Meanwhile, it seems the Minister of Water Resources Management and Development, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, misled the city's residents when he said the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam would commence soon.

According to a report by the Chronicle no one has set foot on the site since his remarks on 6 August.

Minister Nkomo made the announcement when he unveiled the NMZWP advisory board.

Minister Nkomo told the gathering at that time that contractors had been asked to return to the site.

But the Chronicle claims that when their reporter visited the construction site on Wednesday there was nothing happening.

"Our job here is to guard the area, we have been here since 2007 and nothing has taken place ever since," said one of the workers, who asked not to be named.

He said there were about 12 people living in the construction compound and they included two contractors from China International Water and Electric.

The quarry to be used to construct the dam wall is heaped about three kilometres from where construction should take place, while the concrete mixers are lying idle near the proposed dam wall.
The worker said there was no work being done but they were instructed to report for duty everyday.

"As part of building the dam, the contractors are supposed to erect a 70-metre tall dam wall where Gwayi and Shangani rivers meet. This will also mean that they destroy the old wall. This will enable the dam to hold more water, as some of the water will be pumped from the Zambezi River to the dam," said the worker.

Minister Nkomo could not be reached for comment, as his mobile phone was not reachable. However, he announced during the unveiling of the board that the Government had secured funding to the tune of $864 million from the Chinese Exim Bank and had been budgeted for by the Chinese government.

He said the Chinese would this year allocate an additional $345 million in their budget to complete the project.

Minister Nkomo said the money was a loan that constituted "cheap money" as it would be paid back over 25 years at an interest rate of about three percent.

The project would be done in three phases, the first would entail the completion of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, which would receive water from the Zambezi River, while the second would be the construction of a pipeline from the Gwayi-Shangani Dam to a reservoir in Bulawayo's Cowdray Park suburb.

The final phase would be the construction of a 245km pipeline from the Zambezi River to the Gwayi-Shangani Dam.

Source - TC