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Bulawayo water unsafe

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Bulawayo town clerk Middleton Nyoni has warned that the water-shedding programme recently introduced to control the city’s water usage could trigger a major health hazard owing to old infrastructure.

Nyoni recently wrote to mayor Thaba Moyo advising him of the looming health hazard, adding residents had already complained that water from their taps had turned brown.

In the letter, contained in the latest council report, Nyoni attributed the problem to rust that accumulates in the pipelines as a result of erratic water flow.

Part of the letter reads: “After water cuts, the rust is washed out resulting in reddish brown discoloured water.

“Some of the rust settles down while some will remain suspended in the water.

“In addition to rust, low reservoir levels cause carryover of sludge into the pipelines thus further worsening accumulation of sludge in the pipes.”

Nyoni said such water was unfit for human consumption.

“Under normal circumstances, engineering services personnel flash pipelines to remove sludge,” he said.

“However, under the current water situation, the city cannot afford losing the amounts of water required for this.

“Substances produced by algae in water (tiny water plants) usually cause earthy, musty or fishy smell or taste.

“The water should be boiled before consumption.”

The matter was expected to take centre stage at a full council meeting scheduled for last night. Council introduced a stringent water-shedding programme recently following the decommissioning of one of its supply dams after it dried up.

Meanwhile, Moyo said council should have properly consulted stakeholders before implementing the water-shedding programme.

According to the council report, Moyo also expressed concern over the local authority’s billing system, saying the water-shedding regime was likely to compound the situation.

Nyoni concurred and advised consumers to turn off their meter stopcocks whenever there was no running water to avoid wrong meter readings.

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