Boost for Bulawayo water supply…Government moves to address water challenges

11 Jan, 2023 - 00:01 0 Views
Boost for Bulawayo water supply…Government moves to address water challenges Agriculture, Land, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Anxious Masuka inspects water pumps at Rochester aquifer in Nyamandlovu during the tour yesterday.

The Chronicle

Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter 

BULAWAYO’s prevailing water woes are set to ease after Government procured new transformers and pumps to replace those that were vandalised at Epping Forest and Rochester Aquifer in Nyamandlovu, Umguza District, Matabeleland North Province. 

Agriculture, Land, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Anxious Masuka stresses a point to delegates during the tour of RochesterAquifer in Nyamandlovu yesterday. Following proceedings from left are Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) Chief Executive Officer Mr Tinotenda Mhiko, BCC Acting Director Engineering Services Engineer Sikhumbuzo Ncube and ARDA Director for Rural Development Mr Shingirai Jenah

This emerged during a tour of the site yesterday by Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Anxious Masuka, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube and officials from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) and Bulawayo City Council (BCC).

Due to periodic cable theft, the city’s water pumping capacity has drastically gone down to about 3 megalitres per day from the targeted 20ML per day.

This has also affected Bulawayo’s economic growth as industry heavily relies on water for production. 

Bulawayo City Council Acting Director Engineering Services Engineer Sikhumbuzo Ncube, Bulawayo Provincial Minister of State and Devolution Judith Ncube and Minister Masuka (back) inspect water pumps at Rochester aquifer in Nyamandlovu during the tour yesterday.

Over 60 000 Bulawayo residents, including farmers, have been affected by theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure at Epping Forest and Rochester Aquifer in Nyamandlovu resulting in the city reducing pumping capacity. 

Government, through Zinwa, rehabilitated boreholes at Epping Forest and Rochester to improve Bulawayo’s water situation in 2020. The aquifer is meant to complement Bulawayo’s supply dams, whose water levels have remained low.

The Epping Forest boreholes were rehabilitated at a time when Bulawayo was experiencing its worst water crisis in the city’s modern history. The water crisis resulted in the death of 14 residents in Luveve suburb due to diarrhoea-related illnesses.

The vandalism of the electricity infrastructure has been described as a national security threat with urgent interventions being made. 

Acting BCC director of engineering services, Engineer Sikhumbuzo Ncube said after new transformers and pumps have been procured to replace the vandalised ones, the local authority will increase pumping capacity to 10 mega litres per day.

“The procurement of new pumps and transformers at Epping Forest and Rochester Aquifer will enable Criterion Water Works to fill up its reservoirs and boost water supply for Bulawayo residents,” he said

Zinwa director of operations, Engineer Felix Mubvaruri said eight more pumps will go online month-end.

“We are expecting eight more pumps to go online by the end of January. We will be able to pump around 10 mega litres of water per day, which means around 350 000 residents will be supplied with water,” he said.

Eng Mubvaruri said they will soon deploy security personnel to guard the pumps at Epping Forest.

“We were concerned about the security of the pumps hence we have seven personnel waiting to be deployed to the site following acts of vandalism that occurred recently,” he said.

 ZETDC southern region manager Engineer Lloyd Jaji said they secured 18 out of 34 transformers.

 “In terms of replacing the transformers that were vandalised, we have secured them. What is left is the cabling and by the end of this month, all the transformers will be in service,” he                                                                                                                                said. 

Minister Ncube thanked Minister Masuka and commended the teams for working throughout the Christmas holiday to address the water challenges in Bulawayo.

Minister Masuka said: “If the Rochester system becomes fully functional, it will give Bulawayo an extra 10 mega litres of water per day while Epping Forest will give us 20 mega litres. This means we should be having enough to pump into Criterion and improve water supplies.”

The minister said Zinwa assured him that the remainder of the pumps will be procured by end of the month.

Agriculture, Land, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Anxious Masuka stresses a point to delegates during the tour of RochesterAquifer in Nyamandlovu yesterday. Following proceedings from left are Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) Chief Executive Officer Mr Tinotenda Mhiko, BCC Acting Director Engineering Services Engineer Sikhumbuzo Ncube and ARDA Director for Rural Development Mr Shingirai Jenah

“I must commend you for working as a team. This is the whole of Government approach that we want to see as we move towards addressing water challenges in Bulawayo and avert waterborne diseases,” he said.

He implored police to bring to book culprits involved in stealing cables and vandalising transformers and pumping equipment.

“We want those investigations to proceed expeditiously. Each time a cable is stolen at Rochester, or a pump is vandalised at Epping Forest, lives are put under threat, which is why these people must be brought to book,” Minister Masuka said. 

President Mnangagwa has also expressed serious concern over rampant vandalism of key infrastructure at Epping Forest and Rochester Aquifer, a development that continues to negatively affect water supply in Bulawayo. 

Last year, a ministerial delegation comprising Minister Masuka, Minister Ncube, Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo, and Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Deputy Minister Ruth Maboyi toured the affected areas to assess the damage to the infrastructure.

 

Share This: