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Bulawayo faces 72 hours of water shedding

by Staff reporter
07 Aug 2022 at 08:25hrs | Views
BULAWAYO residents could soon be faced with a 72-hour water shedding regime as the water situation in the city continues to deteriorate, with vandalism of both electricity instalments and pipes on servitudes being blamed for the state of affairs.

This comes at a time when residents in the city have already raised a red flag on the local authority accusing it of not sticking to the set shedding schedule with some suburbs going for over a week without water supplies.

Some residents claim they have been receiving supplies for less than 24 hours a week.

So dire is the situation such that two weeks ago the local authority announced that it was resorting to the introduction of bowsers in areas where water went beyond the scheduled shedding period.

The city council also said it was engaging its partners for the construction of more water kiosks in the city.

In an interview on the ongoing water crisis, the Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni said Upper Ncema could soon be decommissioned, bringing to two the decommissioned dams after Umzingwane.

"The city is ordinarily on a 48-hour water shedding schedule owing to our loss of Umzingwane Dam. We are most likely to lose Upper Ncema soon and we may be forced to go to 72-hours water shedding so that we preserve the raw water that we have in the dams until the next rainy season.

"In terms of our supply dams, we are currently sitting on a combined 55 percent of raw water available. We have not been able to be consistent in working within the 48-hour shedding due to consistent power cuts and theft and vandalism of power infrastructure in copper cables owned by Zesa," said Clr Mguni.

The Mayor revealed that the vandalism of infrastructure was also adding to their woes as in Nyamandlovu, for example, they were failing to pump to capacity after the theft of two transformers in the area.

"We are also facing lots of vandalism of pipes in the servitude areas in Esigodini due to illegal mining activities happening there. Once you lose a day of pumping due to power outages, it takes time to stabilise the reservoirs and it affects residents on the distribution line. We have residents staying on high lying areas who haven't received water even when the engineers have opened for a day or two while we stabilise the reservoirs. In the Nyamandlovu area, we have lost two transformers to thieves," said Clr Mguni.

Meanwhile, in an update report to councillors on the city's water situation, council Acting Director of Engineering Services, Engineer Sikhumbuzo Ncube also said the city will soon be forced to increase the water shedding schedule to 72 hours.

He said the only option was for the local authority to start delivering water to affected suburbs so as to ease their plight.

"Council recommends to immediately adopt the 48-hour shedding as the current water system stabilising option.

Council, further to monitor the present water usage trend and, if any disruption occurs due to pump breakdowns and power outages (whether planned or unplanned), to implement the 72-hour shedding programme as a remedial measure to normalise the system," said Eng Ncube in the report.

He revealed that the city's consumption rate had been on an upward trend and was now averaging 155 megalitres a day while maximum available raw water supply was 105 megalitres a day, this therefore meant that there was a gap between demand and supply of 50 megalitres a day.

"Meanwhile, the city has been on 24-hour water shedding since its introduction on 5 June, 2022. In 2021, the 48-hour water shedding was introduced when water consumption of 157 megalitres a day was no longer sustainable. Given the trend in water supply delivery against consumption during the year from January, 2022, it is prudent that the 48-hour shedding be introduced in order to manage water demand, which if not managed sooner, will result in catastrophic consequences," reads the report.

Eng Ncube further revealed that three water bowsers have been made available to deliver water to the most critical high areas.

"Engagements are underway with development partners to avail more resources towards improving water delivery and improved sanitation in the city. Disinfection of water kiosks to be set in motion and start delivering water through water bowsers," reads the report.

Source - The Sunday News