Australia pledges $4,6m for Bulawayo


The Australian Government has offered $4,6 million for a two-year project to rehabilitate Bulawayo’s water and sewer systems under a joint agreement with the Bulawayo City Council (BCC), World Vision, Dabane Trust and other stakeholders in the private sector.
The project— the first of its kind — is named “Bulawayo Water and Sanitation Emergency Response (BOWSER)” was launched this week at a function in Bulawayo attended by programme manager for AusAid Zimbabwe, Michael Hunt, World Vision humanitarian emergency affairs director, Daniel Muchena and BCC officials.
BOWSER is a project meant to improve the city’s water supply and sewer system.
Hunt said improving sanitation was a key priority for the Australian Government’s aid programme to Zimbabwe.
“The BOWSER programme’s major focus is to assist the rehabilitation of Bulawayo’s sewerage and water systems to reduce the prospect of recurrent water-borne diseases such as cholera.
The Australian Government has made this a priority,” he said.
Hunt said the Australian Government had agreed to a $4,6 million for this two-year project.
Muchena said the project was meant to target emergency rehabilitation work for the city’s sewerage and water reticulation systems that were in a state of dilapidation.
“Through this project, we aim to improve the availability of the municipal water supply by repairing leaks and burst pipes. We intend to prevent the re-emergence of cholera outbreak by stopping the flow of raw sewerage in people’s homes and in the streets,” Muchena said.
He said the project would aim at increasing public awareness on hygiene and sanitation while ensuring that water was available in as many households as possible.
There were various activities expected to take place over a span of 13 months to successfully complete the project.
“The project activities we will carry out include the rehabilitation of water treatment plants at Criterion, Fernhill and Ncema dam.
We will repair water leaks along the Insiza water line, unblock over 200 kilometres of choked sewerage pipes through mechanical jetting and we will clear over 45 sand traps and also properly dispose of the excrement removed,” said Muchena.
He said other activities included improving the existing capacity of BCC staff on water and sewerage system maintenance.
There would also be public awareness campaigns on participatory health and hygiene education.
Bulawayo mayor, councillor Thaba Moyo said this timely gesture showed the Australian government’s confidence in the city’s leadership.
“The provision of funding for the city’s water and sewer reticulation system by the Australian Government is a further demonstration of the confidence that they have in the city’s leadership and we are extremely grateful for the BOWSER project,” he said.
Bulawayo is under water rationing because the supply dams received low inflows during the last rainy season.