Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE City of Bulawayo is working towards phasing out the crippling water shedding programme through adopting a pressure reducing valve (PRV) system that would allow residents to continue accessing water even when levels in the city’s dams are critically low.
Bulawayo is implementing a 72-hour water shedding programme as part of the city’s strategies to conserve water.
This has seen residents only accessing water four days a week while in some suburbs the water is only available for a few hours a week.
The city’s dam levels are critically low at 49 percent and Umzingwane Dam has already been decommissioned.
Bulawayo is expected to decommission Upper Ncema this month leaving the city with Lower Ncema, Insiza, Mtshabezi and Inyankuni dams. The city is also getting little water from Nyamandlovu aquifer boreholes.
The city has for years been controlling water consumption through water shedding.
The city’s acting Engineering Services director, Engineer Sikhumbuzo Ncube, said council was in the process of installing PRV pipes that will enable the council to control water consumption without totally cutting off supplies as it is doing now.
He said the system will also address frequent pipe bursts that occur when the city implements water shedding.
“A pipe was not designed to be frequently opened and closed. We are in the process of adopting PRV. We want it to be part of our system so that we will be using a PRV. It will not close the tap completely,” he said.
Eng Ncube said under the PRV system even when the city’s dam levels are low as they are at the moment, council will not implement the water shedding regime.
In 2020 Bulawayo experienced one of the worst water shedding programmes, which was partly to blame for diarrhoea outbreak in Luveve suburb that killed 14 people.
Eng Ncube said the proposed system will however affect high areas as the pressure will be too low for them to access water.
“In order to address this challenge, we have drilled boreholes in these areas and installed water kiosks to enable residents to access water,” said Eng Ncube.
He however expressed concern over vandalism of council infrastructure in some suburbs.
“We observed that there is vandalism of infrastructure in areas such as Richmond and Trenance.
“The residents are vandalising pipes in order to access water to irrigate their crops,” said Eng Ncube.–@nqotshili