HomeLocal NewsRimuka residents finally get tap water

Rimuka residents finally get tap water

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When Susan Makate (38) saw water gushing out of her tap at the weekend, she could not contain her excitement. It was the first time this had happened in over 10 years.

Makate, just like other residents of Rimuka, had gotten used to the familiar pattern of boiling water before consumption as the safety of its source could not be guaranteed.

She never thought she would see this day again. “I was really surprised (when she saw the tap water),” she says. “Boiling water to drink had become part of our lives here. The water wasn’t just coming out from our taps.”

The thrill at the sight of clean, precious water gushing out of the tap is shared by all the other residents here who have gone for over a decade without tap water as the Kadoma Municipality failed to supply the life-giving liquid to residents.

Councillor for Ward 5, Sithembile Ndlovu, says most families had relied on boreholes to access clean and safe water. In Rimuka alone, she says, there are eight boreholes.

Makate says she thinks it is not right for urbanites to use water from boreholes, for years a preserve of rural areas where they is no running water systems.

Kadoma’s Blue Ranges and Pasi water treatment plants, both of which had now outlived their lifespan, had become obsolete and unreliable. Blue Ranges was commissioned in 1960, while Pasi is much older, and this has seen the over 4 000 Kadoma residents suffering untold hardship due to water challenges.

Since 2004, the Kadoma City Council has only been able to supply 30% of potable water to residents but with the rehabilitation that has since taken place with a helping hand from the Red Cross Society of Zimbabwe and the French Red Cross, this has been upped to 60% for at least eight hours a day.

Director of Engineering Services at Kadoma Municipality, Bernatah Nhika, said that Unicef, which had partnered them in the provision of water purification chemicals, was scheduled to pull out of the partnership at the end of last month.

As frequent power cuts have over the years played havoc with the council’s bid to supply water, Nhika says they have since engaged the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) which has, in turn, agreed to supply “dedicated power” to the waterworks.

Already, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has covered 5km and by end of August, the municipality will be in a position to continually supply water to residents and will, consequently, get enough money to purchase water purification chemicals.

French Red Cross Desk Officer for Africa & Middle East Isabbele Polisset says they were pleased by the “concrete results” of the ambitious programme, which kicked off in November 2009.

Ignatius Chombo, Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, commissioned the Kadoma Water Rehabilitation Project.

The waterworks were originally commissioned in the mid-1970s while those at Pasi are far much older.

“The pumps, motors, switch gears, valves, filter sands and the general reticulation became obsolete. It became a nightmare for engineers working for this city as they would spend long hours and nights trying to repair the broken-down pumps and motors,” Chombo said.

The refurbishment was valued at approximately $800 000. This encompassed the supply of two raw water pumps, two booster pumps and two bare shaft pumps.

There was also the supply, installation and reconditioning of valves at Claw Dam, Blue Ranges and Pasi Waterworks. Flow recorders were installed at Shore Pump Station and Blue Ranges Waterworks.

The bulk of the funding, however, was sourced from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO).

According to Chombo, the government chipped in with $250 000 through the Public Sector Investment Programme to supplement the works carried out by the French and Zimbabwe Red Cross. The money was used to purchase valves, switch gears and other electrical components.

The city has since increased its pumping capacity from the previous 12 000 to 25 000 cubic metres per day when electricity is available.

This has seen areas including Mashumavale, Mornington, Waverley and some parts of Rimuka and Eiffel Flats receiving adequate and constant piped water.

The ZETDC is working on a $700 000 dedicated power line to feed both waterworks so that the whole system will get uninterrupted power supplies.

Kadoma is owed $1,8 million in water bills by customers.

But for Makate and other Kadoma residents, they can take a sigh of relief as they can now access potable water from their taps.

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