THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has suspended its waterworks rehabilitation programme to allow residents to have tap water to combat COVID-19 infections during lockdown.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The council is rehabilitating its Criterion Waterworks under the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB)
The project is aimed at improving water supplies and sanitation services.
Last week, Bulawayo residents went for days without the precious liquid after the local authority switched off supplies to allow the first phase of the rehabilitation to take place, in the process sparking panic in the face of COVID-19.
Mayor Solomon Mguni said the local authority was prioritising water provision during lockdown.
“We are living in terrible times that require co-operation and unity of purpose. The scheduled and ongoing water pump maintenance works at Ncema and Fernhill will be shelved as we work on building our reservoir capacities at Criterion Waterworks to restore normal water supply to the people of Bulawayo,” Mguni said, urging residents to co-operate “with the authorities and comply with the measures we have put in place to save lives”.
The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) last week appealed to the council to shelve the waterworks project to save lives.
Health experts emphasise that one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is to wash hands frequently with soap and running water.
Mguni added: “Once a member of your household develops suspected COVID-19 symptoms, don’t take him/her to the clinic. Our city health personnel will come and collect samples at home for testing at the Mpilo Hospital testing unit. Once tests are confirmed positive, isolation and treatment will then happen at our facility.”
According to the Health ministry, the country has eight confirmed COVID-19 cases, and one death. Neighbouring South Africa has so far recorded over 1 000 cases, the highest on the continent to date.