HomeLocal NewsBulawayo city water woes mount

Bulawayo city water woes mount

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The legal wrangle over a tender for the electrification of a pump station for the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline has put the project on hold, a development that is set to worsen Bulawayo’s water woes.

Bulawayo City Council yesterday published a water-shedding schedule, which indicates that the city’s suburbs would not have water for 48 hours per week.
Also affected would be Esigodini in Umzingwane District and the army’s Imbizo Barracks.

The local authority, however, said the central business district was exempted from the water cuts.

According to council, water would be cut off for 24 hours twice a week with council adding: “Although all attempts will be made to stick to the schedule, it is subject to change in cases of emergency without notice.”

There was optimism that the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline link, that is said to be 87% complete, would salvage the water crisis following the dwindling water levels in the city’s supply dams.

But the legal wrangle over the electrification of the pump station has cast doubts on whether the pipeline would not suffer any delays.

A Bulawayo company, United Associates (Pvt) Ltd, has approached the courts seeking to compel the State Procurement Board to reverse awarding a tender of the electrification of the pipeline to AC Controls (Pvt) Ltd.

Water Resources Management and Development minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo yesterday said it would be unfortunate if the legal wrangle delayed the water project.

“I was in Mtshabezi on Friday and the poles have been put on the ground.

“We want the project to be completed as soon as possible and it will be unfortunate if the court case will in any way cause delay in the completion of the project,” Nkomo said.

To compound the situation, council has warned residents against using borehole water for drinking and cooking without boiling it, as water from most boreholes in the city had not been tested.

The city has 312 functional boreholes but the local authority could not guarantee the suitability of the water for human consumption as it was subject to contamination by bacteria from the soil.

Council adopted water shedding following the decommissioning of Upper Ncema Dam leaving the city with four supply dams, namely Insiza, Inyankuni, Lower Ncema and Umzingwane, supplying the city.

However, Umzingwane is also expected to be decommissioned by the end of this week.

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