THE Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline is now complete and the authorities are waiting for specialist engineers from South Africa to assess it before it is commissioned, Water Resources Development and Management minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said yesterday.
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The engineers are from a company that supplied the three pumps installed at the pumping house a few kilometres from Mtshabezi Dam in Matabeleland South.
The water will flow into a reservoir at the pumping house by gravity before it is pumped to the next reservoir located uphill.
Completion of the projection is set to boost Bulawayo’s water supplies after council was forced to introduce a stringent water rationing regime following the decommissioning of its two major supply dams.
Sipepa Nkomo said the engineers and Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) chief executive officer Albert Muyambo were initially scheduled to visit the project yesterday but could not make it on time.
“They were initially expected in the country and to visit the project today (yesterday), but the chief engineer did not have a passport,” the minister said. “So arrangements for an emergency travel document are being made. The engineers will be there when the pumps are run. They will be there to check if those pumps are working properly.”
But Sipepa Nkomo could not give a date when the project would be commissioned.
“I will not give you a date, but what I know is that when the pumps are working properly, we will start pumping water to Bulawayo,” he said.
The pipeline project began more than two years ago but has been delayed by lack of funding and political bickering.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently accused the State Procurement Board of delaying the project, saying they took more than a year to give a go ahead to a company that won a tender to supply pumps.