BCC councillors push for more boreholes

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Bulawayo-City-Council

BY SILAS NKALA
BULAWAYO city councillors are considering using devolution funds to drill more boreholes to address the city’s perennial water crisis.

In 2019, the city suffered one of its worst water crises, during which 13 people died in Luveve high-density suburb, while thousands were hospitalised after they drank contaminated water.

The situation did not get any better in 2020 after one of the city’s dams was decommissioned due to low water levels.

Latest council minutes indicate that councillors have proposed that more boreholes be sunk.

Councillor Felix Mhaka is said to have suggested that the city has enough raw water sources, but pumping was the problem.

“More boreholes should be drilled in the city especially in low-density areas. Not everyone can afford borehole drilling fees because some of the residents are pensioners. Devolution funds could be used.

“Councillor Mzamo Dube’s view was that the department of engineering services should investigate the availability of undergroundwater,” the minutes read.

Councillor Silas Chigora supported the idea of borehole drilling and stressed the need to conserve water.

Councillor Edwin Ndlovu suggested that sites should be identified for new boreholes.

“Councillor Donaldson Mabutho noted that borehole water could be used for non-potable uses, in order to relieve pressure on treated piped water.”

However, deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube reminded councillors that council’s mandate was to provide treated piped water to residents.

Ncube said it was not council’s mandate to provide borehole water as its quality was not guaranteed. Councillor Febbie Msipa and Alderman Monica Lubimbi said water rationing had been introduced prematurely because the rainy season had not ended yet.

While the city has given assurances that water supply is adequate to last until 2026, many have disputed the assertion.

While dams such as Insiza can last for years, Umzingwane may not. The dam could be decommissioned soon due to low water levels.

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