Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

$7 billion water boost for Bulawayo

by Staff reporter
01 Feb 2024 at 04:57hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has given Bulawayo City Council (BCC) $7 billion, which will be channelled towards repairs and purchasing of essential materials in the water supply chain.

The funds will boost infrastructure in the rehabilitation of water sources such as boreholes, as part of short to medium measures to address the city's persistent water woes.

Government is this year also prioritising the completion of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam which is 85 percent complete and also the pipeline to convey the water to the city.

The construction of Lake Gwayi-Shangani, a major component of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, is among the flagship projects being undertaken by the Government.

Lake Gwayi-Shangani construction is expected to provide a permanent water solution for Bulawayo and Matabeleland region. The lake, the third largest inland waterbody after Lake Mutirikwi and Tugwi-Mukosi will be linked to Bulawayo by a 252km pipeline.

BCC director of engineering services, Engineer Sikhumbuzo Ncube yesterday confirmed that they received the money from Government.

"Yes, the funds have been received but I cannot divulge further information for now," he said.

One of the Nyamandlovu boreholes supplying Bulawayo which were vandalised

The money will be channelled towards repairing broken-down boreholes at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer to ensure that 16 megalitres of water are pumped per day.

The funds will also be used to rehabilitate the city's pump stations and leaking pipes as Bulawayo is losing huge volumes of treated water.

Bulawayo residents continue to endure prolonged water cuts, sometimes over a week in some suburbs, at a time when some parts of the country are experiencing an outbreak of cholera and diarrhoea.

The situation is worsened by the vandalism of transformers and boreholes at Epping Forest and Nyamandlovu, which reduced the pumping capacity from 20ML to 4ML a day.

This has affected 60 000 residents who rely on water from the aquifer.

Bulawayo Water Technical Committee chairperson Dr Annatoria Chinyama said: "We are still working on logistics and are still trying to procure materials meant for the rehabilitation of the infrastructure. Some of the materials have to be manufactured as they are not readily available in factories and shops. Therefore, this might take a little longer than expected."

One of the Nyamandlovu boreholes supplying Bulawayo which were vandalised

Dr Chinyama said stakeholders and partners tasked with overseeing the project are yet to convene.

"I cannot give you any further information. The minister in charge of this will make an announcement to that effect and we plan to hold a meeting with him soon," she said.

BCC will be working with other stakeholders and committees such as the Bulawayo Water Technical Committee responsible for overseeing the rehabilitation of the water infrastructure.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) head of corporate communications and marketing Mrs Marjorie Munyonga said they successfully rehabilitated broken-down boreholes at Nyamandlovu and Epping Forest as part of efforts to restore water supplies at the aquifer.

"The Zimbabwe National Water Authority at the end of last year successfully rehabilitated broken down boreholes at Nyamandlovu and Epping Forest as part of the work to restore water production at the aquifer to 16 megalitres per day," she said.

"Most of the boreholes were broken down mainly due to vandalism and Zinwa, working in close collaboration with other agencies, have since embarked on an anti-vandalism campaign while also strengthening security around the boreholes."

Last week, the Government announced that it had availed $7 billion to Bulawayo including a borehole drilling rig as part of short to medium-term interventions to address the city's water shortages while pushing the Lake Gwayi-Shangani project.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, said the Government is committed to permanently addressing Bulawayo's water shortage problem.

Dr Masuka said the committee, which has a very broad representation and skills depth as well as experience, is expected to accelerate the implementation of interventions to address water problems in the city. He noted that the process of tendering for the treatment works project in Cowdray Park has already been completed. Dr Masuka said the 220 megalitres of water a day expected from Lake Gwayi-Shangani, will guarantee adequate water for Bulawayo for the next 80 years. The technical water committee has members drawn from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, civil engineers from Zinwa, BCC, public health practitioners, Environment Management Authority (EMA), and members of the academia.

Source - The Chronicle