Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is faced with a crisis of water treatment chemicals after Unicef indicated it would stop supplying local authorities with chlorine gas, it has been learnt.
According to the latest council report, the development is a blow to the local authority as it comes during the rainy season when water-borne diseases are rampant.
The report noted that in November BCC received 5 375kg of chlorine gas but with effect from December 31 last year, the local authority was required to buy the water purification chemicals on its own.
However, during a meeting with Unicef, BCC along with other local authorities, except Harare, indicated they were not ready to assume the responsibility of buying the water treatment chemicals, citing financial constraints.
“The director of engineering services attended a meeting at the Unicef office in Harare, where Unicef had indicated that their official commitment to supply water treatment chemicals would end on December 31, 2010,” reads the report.
“All local authorities were invited to review this and work out a handover-takeover process to avoid another crisis.”
The report noted all the local authorities with the exception of Harare and Zinwa had indicated that they were not ready to take over the supply of water chemicals.
“While the local authorities had incorporated that in their 2011 budgets, the challenge was the ability of the consumers to pay.”
The report indicated that Bulawayo then requested for an extension to June 30.
“At the end of the meeting it was agreed that a consultant would be appointed by Unicef to assess and map out a handover-takeover per individual local authority,” reads the report.
“The city had provided for the procurement of the water treatment chemicals and tenders had been floated in the papers in preparation for the imminent takeover but the challenge remains that of money.”
Meanwhile, nine engineering companies have expressed interest in assisting council to run feasibility studies and preliminary designs for the Insiza pipeline duplication.
Insiza Dam presently has the largest amount of water compared to the other four supply dams and the project would boost water supplies to the city.
“A tender briefing was held in which nine engineering firms attended and expressed interest in the project. The tender will close on January 12, 2011.”