Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has said it is not incurring any costs after a contractor involved in replacing obsolete pumps at Ncema and Fernhill Pump Stations acquired faulty valves.
The pumps were supposed to be installed in December, increasing Bulawayo’s water pumping capacity to 180 megalitres per day above the city’s daily consumption of 150ML.
The increased pumping capacity was, however, dependent on the water levels at the city’s dams which have been depressed due to low rainfall in previous rainy seasons.
The US$7,5 million project is part of the US$33 million Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) project being funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The project is meant to improve water and sewerage services in Bulawayo for the improvement of residents’ health care.
In a statement, acting town clerk Mrs Sikhangele Zhou said the contractor who bought defective valves is liable and has committed to make amends.
She said the council will continue implementing the water shedding exercise until the contractor completes the rehabilitation exercise.
According to a council schedule, all suburbs are getting tap water for 12 hours, once every week.
“Commissioning of the new pumping system was planned for 11 December 2020. However, commissioning has been rescheduled due to the failure of four non-return valves (NRVs) which are an integral part of the pumping system.
“The NRVs have an important function in that they protect the pumps; when a pump is switched off or when there is a power outage, the NRV prevents backflow from the water in the rising main,” said Mrs Zhou.
“Under the terms of the contract, the contractor has a contractual obligation to rectify the challenges and deliver a fully functional pumping system to the City of Bulawayo. The contractor is replacing the failed non-return valves at no cost to council.”
She said the council expects the contractor to have partially installed the new parts by the end of this month delivering 52ML of water per day to Criterion Water Treatment Works.
Mrs Zhou said council will ensure that the contractor meets the new March deadline.
“This forms part of the incremental solution, progressively working towards a fully commissioned pumping system, which will deliver an average of 82ML per day of water to Criterion by 15 March 2021,” said Mrs Zhou. [email protected]