BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO’s water restoration strategy has suffered new setbacks in the form of power cuts and pipe bursts as the city’s reticulation system readjusts to normal supplies of the precious liquid.
The city council has rolled out a water restoration strategy that had seen a punitive 144-hour water-shedding regime, introduced after three dams were decommissioned last year, being replaced by a 72-hour timetable.
Council has said it will lift the water-rationing regime next month as dams fill up owing to the heavy downpours. Bulawayo’s water supply dam levels were at 64% as of Monday from as low as 20% in November 2020.
Mayor Solomon Mguni, however, said residents were still experiencing water shortages due to electricity outages being experienced in recent days despite the improved water situation.
“The aggregated water supply into city is now averaging 135ML per day against the city’s average consumption of 120ML per day which is adequate to start refilling the city’s distribution reservoirs and be able to fully charge the water reticulation system,” Mguni said in an update of the city’s water situation on Tuesday.
“I am happy to note that it is the city’s intention to suspend water-shedding earlier than scheduled. However, the current and regular power outages continue to disrupt continuous pumping, destabilising some of the sensitive reservoirs such as Tuli and Magwegwe.”
The city has been experiencing power outages from the time a fire broke out at the Hwange Power Station recently. Zesa denies it is implementing load-shedding as it also blames the outages on rain-caused damages to its infrastructure and theft of electricity copper cables.
“We are also glad to announce that the coming on line of the Epping Forest, combined with output from the Rochester scheme in Nyamandlovu is expected to supply an additional ground water of about 15M per day going forward,” Mguni said.
“During this period, it should be noted that there will be some disruptions in water supply to some parts of the city that may go for one or two days without water due to pipe bursts. This is an expected phenomenon as the water network is readjusting to a 24/7 fully charged state.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned the Epping Forest boreholes project in Nyamandlovu and officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline. Government last week floated a tender for survey works for the pipeline route from Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo, a project seen as a long-term solution to Bulawayo’s water
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