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BCC blames Zesa on water cuts

by Staff reporter
23 May 2021 at 06:29hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council has blamed the continued 72-hour water shedding exercise which it is implementing on electricity company Zesa, despite the city's dams receiving significant inflows during the past rainy season.

This comes amid revelations that in the first quarter of this year, the local authority experienced 279 hours of power outages at its four pumping stations. The local authority had projected that by March residents will not be experiencing water shedding, which at some point last year saw water being supplied once a week.

Initially, council attributed the continued water shedding to delays in the completion of rehabilitation works at Criterion Water Works and the Ncema/ Fernhill booster pumps. With the commissioning of the two major projects the local authority claimed it will give the city between 170 megalitres and 180 megalitres of water a day, which is enough to supply the city without any need for water shedding, according to council reports.

Speaking during a service delivery update media briefing last Tuesday, BCC director of engineering services, Engineer Simela Dube said they were forced to continue with water shedding as the daily consumption rate was still at par with what was being produced at the reservoirs, hence whenever there were power outages, the pumping capability was affected.

"As we transitioned from water shedding, people have been asking why they are still not getting sufficient water. Of which we obviously had equipment challenges in terms of motors that were burnt at Ncema booster station, these have since been reinstated and we are now pumping almost at full throttle. What we are feeding into the system and what we are consuming is running almost parallel such that whenever we have power outages these actually affect our reservoirs in the dams. In terms of power outages in the first quarter of the year we have lost 115 hours at Criterion and 160 hours at Nyamandlovu," said Eng Dube.

He revealed that the city's daily consumption stood at 160 megalitres a day which exceeds the projected rationed consumption of 135 megalitres a day.

"At Criterion the outages have grown so high because we no longer have a dedicated power line and Zesa requires in excess of US$5 million to reinstate our dedicated power line. These power outages then affect the amount of water that we are delivering into the system," said Eng Dube.

In terms of dam depletion, the engineering services department boss said Insiza Mayfair will have water until December 2025, Inyankuni July 2024, Umzingwane February 2022, Upper Ncema March 2023 and Mtshabezi will have water until July 2024.

Town clerk Mr Christopher Dube also noted that the local authority was failing to pump the required levels so as to be able to sustain the ever-growing population saying there was a need to develop new strategies to bring more water to the city and further address the problem of leakages.

"At Nyamandlovu in the average we are producing 15 megalitres a day, Criterion 105 megalitres a day, Tuli about 45 megalitres a day, giving us a total of 165 megalitres a day and then we discount for loses which is about 15 megalitres we remain with 150 megalitres, while we have a daily demand of 155 megalitres. It is clear therefore that already we have a shortfall before even the interference of power outages. This shortfall can only be corrected if we are improving on our piping of Nyankuni to Ncema water works and that of Mtshabezi to Umzingwane," said Mr Dube.

Source - sundaynews
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