Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Bulawayo to decommission its second supply dam

by Staff reporter
07 Apr 2024 at 10:05hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council will this month decommission its second supply dam as the water situation in the city continues to deteriorate due to the El Nino-induced dry spell which resulted in below-average rainfall in the region.

According to the latest council report, Lower Ncema Dam is set to be decommissioned on 24 April, a move that will further worsen the water problems in the city and could likely see the local authority increasing the 120-hour water shedding schedule.

"Umzingwane Dam was decommissioned on 19 November 2023 after reaching four percent, it is still at a critical level of 4,70 percent and is presently used to receive water from Mtshabezi Dam. Umzingwane Dam is indirectly used to convey water from Mtshabezi Dam to Ncema Water Treatment Plant.

"Upper Ncema had been opened into Lower Ncema to increase levels of Lower Ncema. Insiza and Mtshabezi Dams were anticipated to deplete last, the potential for optimum water abstraction from these dams was constrained by pipeline capacities. Presently, the capacities stood at 17 megalitres a day (without power outages) for Mtshabezi and 51 megalitres a day for Insiza. This underscored the need for careful consideration of the available water sources and infrastructure limitations in addressing the impending challenges in the city's water supply," reads the report.

According to the report, another dam that is set to be decommissioned this year is Upper Ncema which is set for decommissioning on 7 October.

To add to the city's woes, the local authority is pumping at 50 percent capacity at its Ncema water treatment works as 60 percent of its filters are not working.

"At present, Ncema waterworks could pump a maximum of 40 megalitres to 45 megalitres a day out of the expected 80 megalitres a day (design capacity) clear water due to 60 percent of the filters not working.

"Raw water pumping figures were currently influenced by the available abstraction from operational dams, the conveyance capacities of the bulk mains and the number of operational pumps at any given time," reads the report.

The local authority noted that the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) had embarked on a rehabilitation programme for the Nyamandlovu Aquifer boreholes, to boost the water pumped from the aquifer.

"The project seeks to ensure a total of 60 boreholes are operational — 20 at Epping Forest and 40 at Rochester. To date, a total of 36 boreholes are operational and are reported to have the capacity to deliver 16 megalitres a day.

"The City of Bulawayo meters both at Cowdray Park and Rochester were non-functional and required urgent replacement. The scoping for the meter repairs was ongoing. Zinwa would be securing the transformers in cages while also conducting awareness campaigns to curb the issue of vandalism of transformers," reads the report.

Meanwhile, some residents from areas have gone for a long period without water supplies.

Investigations by this publication revealed that residents from suburbs not affected by the water shedding schedule have resorted to selling a bucket of water for 5 rand to residents mainly in Magwegwe and Pumula who go for a long period without water sometimes beyond the 120-hour water shedding schedule.

Commenting on the development, the city's Deputy Mayor, Councillor Edwin Ndlovu said the move by the residents was both unscrupulous and illegal, saying he would immediately report the matter to officials within the engineering services department to investigate.

"That is illegal and should be dealt with as a matter of urgency. Those residents who are fortunate enough to have water should rather help others who are in a desperate situation. Anyone that is caught selling water will be immediately arrested and brought to book, in fact, I will report this matter to our officers so that they investigate and bring all those doing this to book," said the Deputy Mayor.

Source - The Sunday News
More on: #Bulawayo, #Water, #Dam