BY SILAS NKALA
BULAWAYO’s water supply dams are now 53% full, which has prompted the city fathers to consider easing the water-shedding schedule next month.
This was revealed by Bulawayo mayor, Solomon Mguni last Friday during his address on the state of water and service delivery in the city, where he said water shedding would be eased mid-March.
Since last year, Bulawayo has been experiencing the worst water challenges in history, with some residential areas going for several months without the precious liquid.
Three of the city’s supply dams were decommissioned last year due to very low water levels after a drought.
“The dam levels have risen by at least 30% from an overall percentage of 20% in November 2020 to 53% as at Friday, February 5,” Mguni said.
“Council today (Friday) met and resolved for the progressive rolling out of the water restoration strategy against the available raw water and pumping capacities so as to slowly introduce a programmable water-shedding regime which will be gradually suspended towards mid-March 2021,” he said.
Mguni said in the year 2020, the City of Bulawayo installed new Flowserve pumps to replace the obsolete KSB pumps at both the Fernhill and Ncema Pump Stations.
He said the pumps were initially earmarked for commissioning in December 2020, but due to challenges after the purchase of the wrong non-return valves, the commissioning was rescheduled for January 2021.
“The additional pumping through the Flowserve pumps is expected to increase the treatment capacity from the current 92 mega litres (ML) per day to 145 ML per day. This will assist in building the raw water reservoir and ensure its gradual restoration to the water supply system. The city had a formal 144 hour water-shedding programme which will be gradually normalised to ensure residents receive water twice a week.”
Mguni said it was anticipated that from the third week of February onwards the reservoirs will have stabilised enough to make way for a formal 72 hours shedding programme.
He said the City of Bulawayo was also finalising the rehabilitation of the second Sulzer Pump to ensure standby capacity, completion and commissioning of the Epping Forest, which is anticipated to supply an additional 10ML per day and ensure adherence to the water-rationing regime currently in place.
Mguni said the implementation of the Inyankuni Booster Station was increasing output from 18ML/day to 41ML/day at a cost of US$0,4 million, adding that the expansion of Mtshabezi had increased output from 15ML per day to 36ML per day at a cost of US$2,3 million.
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