Vusumuzi Dube, Municipal Reporter
BULAWAYO water woes will persist for at least two more weeks as council battles to complete rehabilitation works.
Most parts of the city have gone for 10 days without running tap water.
The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is implementing major rehabilitation works under the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) funded by the African Development Bank.
The BWSSIP programme is meant to improve municipal water supply and sanitation services in the city.
Speaking on the sidelines of a water crisis committee meeting held at the Small City Hall yesterday, the local authority’s Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, said residents would have to bear the inconvenience for at least two more weeks.
He said the contractor had indicated that the project was now 80 percent complete with the scope of the work being frustrated by unforeseen circumstances.
Mr Dube said when the project is completed, the next task would be convincing residents to reduce their daily consumption which could result in the cancellation of the water shedding programme.
“The challenge faced by the contractor is that there were some things which they had not initially planned to replace like valves for example, but when they removed them they discovered that these were severely worn out and needed to be replaced.
This is among other challenges that have been faced since we started the exercise over a week ago.
“However, as it stands I can say the whole rehabilitation process is now 80 percent complete.
In terms of timelines I can say we would have finished in the next two weeks. I am confident that when all work is complete our water delivery situation will vastly improve.
“We could even abandon our water shedding schedule but this is subject to us reducing our daily consumption to at least 120 mega litres a day,” said Mr Dube.
Before water shedding, daily consumption was averaging 150 mega litres a day.
Speaking during the water crisis committee meeting, BCC Director of Engineering Services, Engineer Simela Dube, echoed the town clerk’s sentiments, saying there was a need for residents to be patient with the local authority as the rehabilitation was necessary to improve water supplies in the city.
“The problem we are facing at the moment is that of reducing daily consumption because we are facing a situation where we could end up increasing water shedding and rationing because people are not sticking to their water rationing levels.
“Residents, who contribute 72 percent of the daily consumption, must realise the importance of sticking to their rationing figures because this will see us not resorting to water shedding. As long as our daily consumption is around 120 mega litres a day, we are safe and don’t need to shed water,” he said.
Turning to the ongoing rehabilitation exercise, Eng Dube said: “The contractor had to increase the projected timelines due to the state of the equipment, as you know the city last underwent such rehabilitation work in 1940 hence most of the equipment was now worn out and obsolete”.
On dam statistics, Eng Dube revealed that the city’s six supply dams were 46,1 percent full with one dam — Upper Ncema — being decommissioned and Umzingwane likely to be decommissioned in October if the dam does not receive inflows.
The city is now opening taps for selected suburbs on a rotational basis for about 24 hours as works continue.
Speaking at the same meeting, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube urged stakeholders to work together in coming up with a lasting solution to the city’s water woes.
“All that we need to do now is to come together and work as a unit as we try to navigate our way out of this crisis because together we will never fail,” said the Minister.
Also present at the meeting was Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Cde Raj Modi.