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'BCC bungled in water crisis'

by Staff reporter
07 Mar 2020 at 06:47hrs | Views
THE Government has said the Bulawayo City Council bungled in submitting an application for the city's water crisis to be declared a state of disaster by sending their plea to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement.

Instead, the council was supposed to forward its application to its parent ministry, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, which after consulting the President makes the declaration.

Bulawayo in January applied to the Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement that the city's water situation be declared a state of disaster. However, Local Government and Public Works Deputy Minister Marian Chombo said council should have directed their application to her Ministry.

"From the contents of your questions it should have been directed to my ministry. If they decide to redirect to us then I will handle it, if not we will just wait to hear from the Ministry of Lands if they are going to engage us," said Deputy Minister Chombo.  

Contacted for further comment Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube confirmed that the council engaged Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement.

A comment could not be obtained from officials from the Ministry Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement with the ministry's permanent secretary Mr Ringson Chitsiko's cellphone not being answered. Bulawayo residents are enduring a 96-hour weekly water shedding exercise since last year as the municipality is trying to manage a crisis due to dwindling water levels at the city's dams.

While the city can only supply 130 megalitres (ML) of water per day the local authority's consumption demands are at 155 ML per day.  The 2019/2020 rainy season has not improved the city's crisis as dams have 35 percent of their capacity.

The local authority yesterday said it was waiting on Government to urgently declare the city's water situation a state of disaster to enable it to mobilise funds which will improve drawing of water to the city.

BCC senior public relations officer Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said the prevailing water crisis was damaging the city's water and sewer infrastructure hence the urgent need.  

"There is urgent need to declare the city a water shortage area so that the donors can be mobilised to avert the potential disaster. When there is water shedding, the sewer system is affected as there will be low volumes of water to move the solids in the sewer pipes, hence increased frequency of sewer blockages. The public is urged to continue conserving water and at the same time do the 'Big Flush' to assist sewage flows," said Mrs Mpofu.

The big flush is a system when residents simultaneously flush their toilets twice a day in the morning (6-6.30AM) and evening (8-8.30PM) as a way of cleaning the city's sewer and reticulation system to curb pipe bursts.

Mrs Mpofu said once the city is declared a water shortage area it would be able mobilise funds rehabilitate boreholes in the Nyamandlovu Aquifer and expand ground water supply to Epping Forest which has a potential to supply another 10megalitres per day.

She said the council also intends to duplicate Mtshabezi Pipeline with a potential of an additional 5ML/day and the extension of the Mtshabezi pipeline from Umzingwane to Ncema waterworks.

Source - chronicle