High fuel costs ground BCC water deliveries

HIGH fuel costs are reportedly affecting the delivery of water by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) as the local authority introduces water kiosks to keep water in huge quantities in residential areas.

BY PATRICIA SIBANDA

BCC spokesperson Nesisa Mpofu said six out of 25 water kiosks had been completed as one of the options to keep water available for the citizens in the midst of a severe water crisis in the country’s second largest city, but fuel shortages are threatening the whole project.

She said some of the kiosk sites had been funded to the tune of US$4 500.

“The increase in fuel costs is an increase on the operational costs for the municipality. The municipal bowsers that ferry water to various bowser points, like all other municipal services, are affected by an increase in the fuel costs,” Mpofu said, adding residents situated on high ground with prolonged water-shedding hours stood to benefit more from the kiosks.

“A number of residents in high lying areas across the city now receive water only at night or no water at all when council resorts to water-shedding, which has seen households going for six days without water when the 144-hour shedding programme was introduced,” she said.

“When restoring water supply in a suburb, it is the low-placed areas that receive it first, by gravity, before the high lying areas.

“As a result, other consumers have little or no access to water and have to wait for two to three days of closure when another shedding cycle ends. Due to the nature of the network and geographical location, since water is now being restored for just 24-hours, it is inadequate to supply every household in a zone before supply is switched off-again to resume another shedding cycle.”

Mpofu said water bowsers have been ferrying water to affected suburbs and some of the challenges with bowser points had been the turn-around time per site (three to four hours) and lack of practising social distancing by residents.
She said water kiosks were the solution to water woes in the city.

“In response to these challenges, the city is installing water kiosks in the form of Jojo tanks in selected strategic areas to serve 6 099 affected properties.

“The water kiosks are expected to improve turn-around time, thereby enabling more areas to be covered, reducing waiting time and improving social distancing,” Mpofu said.

“On the other hand, rehabilitation of 50 hand pumps (boreholes) is being explored, subject to funding, to improve access to water to an additional 5 000 households.”

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