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Mtshabezi water finally reaches Bulawayo

by Staff reporter
12 Jan 2013 at 04:27hrs | Views
THE long-awaited water from Mtshabezi Dam has finally reached Bulawayo.

Announcing the development at a press conference in Bulawayo yesterday, the Minister of Water Resources Management and Development, Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said water had been released from Mtshabezi to the decommissioned Umzingwane Dam.

Bulawayo's deputy director of engineering services, Engineer Ian Mthunzi confirmed the development.

"I am happy to say that water has finally reached Bulawayo. As for today, we have been able to address most of the leaks. We have also been able to release most of the water into the dam," said Dr Sipepa Nkomo.

He said the Mtshabezi pipeline had two outlets, one that released water into Umzingwane Dam for distribution to the city and another that pushed it straight to Ncema water works for purification.

Dr Sipepa Nkomo said the pipeline would, as per design specification, supply 17 000 cubic metres of water to the city, adding that if the water situation deteriorated, a parallel pipe would have to be constructed to enable the abstraction of more water.

He said electrification of the pumps at Mtshabezi would soon be complete.

"The power lines have reached Mtshabezi. All that is left is for the transformers to be fitted at Gwanda and Mtshabezi. At the moment, we are using diesel powered generators," said Dr Sipepa Nkomo.

Last month, he said there was enough diesel to run the generators for about two months.

Speaking at the same occasion, Eng Mthunzi said he had seen the water being pumped into Umzingwane Dam.

"I was there. With my own eyes I saw the water. I think it is a great day for Bulawayo," said Eng Mthunzi.

In an interview after the conference, Eng Mthunzi said the city would have to work out how the water shedding schedule would be affected.

"Contact public relations during the week. We will have to work out logistics based on several scenarios to see how the water shedding schedule would be affected. We need to consider that other supply dams have been depleted and others are on the brink of being decommissioned," he said.

When council embarked on water shedding in July last year, it was anticipated that water from Mtshabezi would reduce the duration of the exercise by one day.

At present, council is cutting supplies to all suburbs four days every week, as it battles to conserve dwindling supplies until significant water flows into the supply dams.

Mtshabezi Dam, which is viewed as a short term solution to Bulawayo's water problems, was completed in 1994 and has been lying idle ever since.

Bulawayo is experiencing one of its worst water shortages in recent years.

Two supply dams, Upper Ncema and Umzingwane have been decommissioned.

Lower Ncema and Inyankuni are likely to follow soon if it does not rain heavily.

The city would remain relying on Insiza Dam and Mtshabezi.

The city is said to be operating with a deficit of about four supply dams, as an ever growing population has outgrown the five supply dams.

The permanent solution to the problem is viewed as the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP), which was first mooted in 1912.

Dr Sipepa Nkomo recently announced that he had secured the $1,2 billion that was needed for the project from China.

He said it would take three years from the date that workmen moved on site, to finish the NMZWP.

The workmen are yet to start.

Source - TC