THE government has finally approved a Bulawayo City Council (BCC) request to construct a seven-kilometre pipeline from Epping Forest in Nyamandlovu to augment the city’s water supplies.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The State Procurement Board (SPB) has also approved plans to resuscitate four more boreholes at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer, to bring to a total of 35 functional boreholes to supply water to the city that has struggled with water problems for decades.
The Epping Forest pipeline project is estimated to cost $4 million.
BCC has since raised $2,8 million under the $1 per household water levy. Latest council minutes show that the project should be complete by April.
Once complete, Epping Forest will supply a further 10 megalitres of water daily to Bulawayo, while the Nyamandlovu boreholes, if fully operational, can supply the city with 16 megalitres of water daily.
“The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and council evaluated the submitted bids from contractors and sent the report to SPB. SPB approved the award for Lot A, which comprises the construction of a 2,280 cubic metre water reservoir, pump house and 7km pipeline at a cost of about $4 013 914.
“The expected completion date is April 10, 2017. Lot B, which entails the drilling and equipping of 20 boreholes, has been awarded to Conduit Investments (Pvt) Ltd, at a cost of $1 174 643,58 with an expected completion date of six months after signing of the contract,” the council minutes read.
At one time, plans to drill boreholes at the Epping Forest hit a brick wall, after the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) blocked it.
EMA argued that drawing water from Epping Forest, a nature forest, which has a high underground water table, would disturb the ecosystem and lead to animal deaths in Nyamandlovu.
“There are 31 operational boreholes in Nyamandlovu. Currently, Zinwa is working on resuscitating four additional boreholes, which require the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company to instal new transformers.
The refurbishments would augment water supply from Nyamandlovu to an average eight megalitres/day in comparison to the current average of 2,6 megalitres/day,” the minutes added.
Government plans to provide Bulawayo with water through the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, seen as the long-term solution, have stalled, while the Mtshabezi, Insiza and Epping Forest water pipelines are seen as some of the possible solutions to ease the water crisis in the city.