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Water crisis hits Bulawayo

by Staff reporter
17 Aug 2023 at 06:49hrs | Views
BULAWAYO residents have been hit by a water crisis with most suburbs going for days without running water following a burst pipeline connecting Ncema Water Treatment Works and Criterion Water Treatment Plant in Burnside suburb.

This is forcing some residents to resort to unhygienic water sources in swampy areas as the city's water woes continue to mount.

As a result, all areas fed from the Tuli Reservoir have been without water supplies for the past four days to pave way for emergency repairs.

A Chronicle news crew yesterday visited selected suburbs in the western areas and observed long winding queues for water at boreholes, and unconventional wells.

In Entumbane suburb, some residents fetched water from unhygienic water sources dotted in swampy areas. Some women were spotted washing clothes using the water from holes that they had dug around the smelly swamps.

Ms Jester Sibanda, a vendor in Entumbane suburb, said the situation was dire and they feared an outbreak of diseases if the problem persisted.

 "We don't have running water for almost a week now and we are relying on boreholes and unhygienic water sources. In fact, residents with houses that are situated in high-lying areas are most affected," she said.

 "We have appealed to the council to address this issue, but nothing has been done. We are sitting on a health time bomb ready to explode if this problem is not addressed, particularly given that schools have closed and children are home."

Ms Sibanda said some residents are relieving themselves in nearby bushes.

"You cannot use the bush because it stinks. Some of us are vendors and we sell fresh produce and without water, we lose business," she said. Another resident, Mrs Philippa Sibanda said since her house is located on a hilltop, she hardly receives water even when it is restored during water rationing. "It's a dire situation and surely council has failed us.

"We need new people to sort this out because whenever water is available it is dirty. We pay bills yet we are short-changed," she said.

Ms Nomalanga Sibanda of Makokoba said the worsened water challenges in the city presented a new health challenge in communities they were living in.

She said they have gone for more than a week without running water in the suburb.

Some candidates participating in the forthcoming elections also took a swipe at the Citizens Coalition for Change-led council for failing to address the prevailing water problem in the city.

"We cannot have such a council failing to run the city. We have had them running the town for years and one would expect them to know when there is a looming problem and deal with it before it happens," said Brian Samuriwo who is the Zanu-PF candidate for the Luveve – Emakhandeni National Assembly seat.

"They are the most useless council to lead this city and one wonders how the city would look like in the next five years if they are voted back."

Economic Freedom Fighters Zimbabwe chapter leader and aspiring Lobengula – Magwegwe MP Mr Innocent Ndibali said Zimbabweans need to rise to the occasion and vote for the right people to run the council.

Efforts to contact Bulawayo City Council (BCC) were effortless as the council spokesperson Mrs Nesisa Mpofu had not responded to an email sent to her.

Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni did not answer his phone. In a statement released last week, BCC attributed the water problem to a burst pipe, saying maintenance work is being carried out on the Flowserve pipeline at Ncema and Fernhill pump stations.

The works were scheduled to last a day.

"There will be an interruption and suspension of water supply to all areas fed by the Tuli Reservoir.

"This is due to delays in the completion of leak repairs that are taking place on the Flowserve line and are thus affecting raw water deliveries to the Criterion Water Treatment Plant," read the statement.

"The Tuli Reservoir has also been affected by a power surge that took place at Ncema on 10 August and resulted in two out of five pumps from the Ncema to Tuli being affected."

Source - The Chronicle
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